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Ex-LRA boss eyes Swaziland post

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU – Charles Jenkins, the outgoing commissioner-general of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), could assume the same title in Swaziland where he attended a job interview a fortnight ago.

His three-year contract at the helm of the LRA ended last Friday.

The much-travelled Jenkins, 53, said his next stop could be Swaziland where he was interviewed for the commissioner-general’s post on February 20.

Swaziland, a kingdom of less than a million people, is in the process of setting up a revenue authority.

Jenkins could also consider going to Sierra Leone on a British-sponsored project to modernise the West African country’s revenue collection systems.

But the Welsh consultant, who has lived in Africa for 30 years, said he would prefer the Swaziland job if it materialised.

“Swaziland is in the process of establishing a revenue authority. I was interviewed for a job there and I’m waiting to hear from them,” Jenkins said.

“I would prefer to be commissioner-general. The job in Swaziland sounds fascinating and more rewarding.”

Jenkins leaves Maseru next Tuesday for a short break at his home in South Africa.

“I have joined the ranks of the unemployed,” he told the Lesotho Times last Friday, his final day at the LRA.

“I will spend one week at my home in the Western Cape, then off to the UK for a month unless I’m to start work elsewhere.”

Jenkins, who has worked in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, was appointed LRA commissioner-general on March 1 2006 as a replacement for the late Kevin Donovan.

His contract, bankrolled by the British government, was not renewable.

“According to the terms of the contract, it was supposed to be only three years. British government support was limited to one contract,” Jenkins said.

He expressed regret at leaving Lesotho, a country he said he was “in love with”.

Jenkins said he was proud that since he came into office the LRA had managed to exceed its collection targets.

“The authority was performing adequately when I came in,” he said. “But since 2006 performance has improved dramatically.

“In 2006-7 we beat the target by M102 million and the following year by M222 million.

“We haven’t come to the end of this year, but I’d expect to be M400 million above our target this year.”

He added: “So in the last three years we would have collected in excess of M700 million.

“I’ve never suffered the pressure of missing targets even though every year the targets increase.”

Taxpayers are expected to fund close to 80 percent of the M11.5 billion national budget announced by Finance Minister Timothy Thahane last month.

Jenkins said the LRA had managed to widen the tax base by streamlining the authority’s operations and embarking on taxpayer education.

“We have defined the focus of what we are trying to do,” he said. “We have consolidated technical functions . . . and we have combined units.

“We see ourselves as a service organisation. We have tried to improve our service so that it’s easier for people to be compliant.

“Our aim is to increase the level of voluntary compliance. We have also broadened the tax base.

“We have improved efficiency and tried to convince the compliant taxpayer that they are not competitively disadvantaged by paying their taxes.”

Khabo Letjama has taken over as the acting commissioner-general of the LRA.

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