Home Business LRA remits M5.8b to govt

LRA remits M5.8b to govt

by Lesotho Times


LRA Acting Commissioner-General Advocate Realeboha Mathaba (left) hands over a mock cheque to Finance Minister Dr 'Mamphono Khaketla yesterday.

LRA Acting Commissioner-General Advocate Realeboha Mathaba (left) hands over a mock cheque to Finance Minister Dr ‘Mamphono Khaketla yesterday.

. . . as tax authority exceeds target by 13%

Bereng Mpaki

FINANCE Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla says the continued improvement of domestic revenue collection mechanisms is critical in light of diminishing Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenues.

Dr Khaketla made the remark yesterday during a press briefing to reveal the revenue collected by the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) during the 2015/16 financial year.

She said the LRA had collected M5.8 billion against the M5.7 billion target set out for the tax authority during the year under review.

The LRA’s “promising and positive” performance, Dr Khaketla said, exceeded the set target by 13 percent, and had also surpassed the previous year’s excess of M49 million with M103 million this year. The target for the 2014/15 fiscal year was M5.1 billion.

“The performance of the LRA during the 2015/16 financial year has been promising and positive as we had set for them a target to collect M5.7 billion,” she said.

“I am pleased to report that against the target of M5.7 billion, the LRA has remitted 5.8 billion. This translates to an excess of M102.75 million, which is really a good thing since LRA collected more than their target.”

Dr Khaketla said the revenue authority’s performance indicated its improved efficiency and better compliance by taxpayers.

“Some might think it is not a significant increase, but for us it is because the figures show that more people are complying and the LRA is becoming more efficient,” the minister said, adding that the mining, financial and telecommunication sectors had contributed the most to exceeding the target.

“It also shows that if we set our minds to it, we can improve domestic revenue collection. As a result, I am asking them to collect M6.4 billion as a target for this financial year.”

Dr Khaketla said the government would continue to increase the target annually in response to the diminishing SACU revenues. During her national budget presentation in February this year, the minister said revenues from the customs union, whose members also include Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland are set to decline from 23 percent to 17 percent of gross domestic product in the 2016/17 financial year.

She said the total revenue target for the 2015/16 financial year was M14.405.7 million, of which SACU recorded M6 398.2 million.

However, in the 2016/17 budget, Dr ‘Khaketla projected a total revenue of M15.473.8 million, of which SACU receipts accounted for M4.593.8 million.

“We are gradually increasing it (the target) because domestic revenue is critical. SACU, which is the main contributor to the fiscus, is declining,” she said.

“If you were listening to the budget speech, the SACU revenue last year was M6 billion, but this year it is M4 billion. That is why we have to find ways of increasing our domestic revenues.”

On his part, LRA Acting Commissioner-General, Advocate Realeboha Mathaba, said while they had exceeded their target, there was always room for improvement. He said among other initiatives the revenue authority was effecting was the modernising of its services and training of personnel.

“While we have been consistently exceeding our targets, there is still room for improvement as far as our service is concerned,” said Adv Mathaba.

“We are committed to modernising our processes and in capacitating our staff in order to improve the services we provide to our people.”

He said despite the challenges associated with the non-compliance of some taxpayers, there was a marked improvement in the numbers of people registering, filing and paying their taxes on time.

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