- 1bn collected against target of P34.8b by December
- Inflation relief measures affected VAT collection
- BURS to undergo restructuring
Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) is confident of reaching its 2022/2023 financial year collection target of P46.4 billion despite the inflation relief measures put in place in August last year.
The temporary measures, which included a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 14 percent to 12 percent and zero-rating of cooking oil and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), were scheduled to last for a period of six months. Finance minister Peggy Serame Last week announced an extension on the decrease in the VAT rate while no similar extension has been made for cooking oil and LPG. According to principals at the tax collecting agency, by December 2022 BURS had collected P35.1 billion against a target of P34.8 billion.
With less than three months left before the financial year closes, BURS hopes to achieve its target of P46.4 billion or even surpass it. According to BURS Commissioner – Commercial Operations, Tutu Bakwena, there are a few reasons why achieving the target is on course despite the inflation relief measures. “The first reason could be BURS’ efforts in seeking to collect outstanding debts,” said Bakwena in response to The Business Weekly & Review at a media briefing.
“The second reason could be that coming out of COVID-19, we are seeing more activity in the economy. We are seeing more companies opening up and those that existed showing signs of growth in terms of their business.” Bakwena said when it comes to VAT collections, there has been positive growth in terms of what has been collected, which he said is slightly higher than what they had anticipated. “In short, I can say yes, these measures will affect or have affected VAT collection,” Bakwena said.
At the same media briefing, BURS Board Chairperson, Dr Lesedi Senatla, said BURS has been assigned the responsibility of collecting tax revenue and other revenues of P46.4 billion during the 2022/2023 fiscal year. “We suspect that for the 2023/2024 financial year, the figure will be considerably higher,” Dr Senatla said. He told the journalists that on average, imports to the value of P70 billion and exports of P60 billion are processed annually in Botswana.
“This is significant work that is done by BURS to facilitate timely importations of raw materials and machinery necessary to stimulate the growth of industries in the economy,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr Senatla revealed that BURS is currently undertaking organisational restructuring. “The diagnostic report that we have done has indicated that there is a need for us to carry out organisational tweaking,” he said.
However, according to the Commissioner General of BURS, Jeanette Makgolo, the tax agency is still at the initial stages of the restructuring “because procuring (a) consultant or the resources that are going to help us do the actual restructuring has been slow”. She said the process has been slow because of legal issues. “These days we have a new law and we have to make sure that we follow it to the dot,” she noted. Makgolo stated that BURS expects to have appointed a consultant by February.