Tech geeks win LRA software competition

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Bereng Mpaki
THE duo of Bokang Thoola and Karabo Mohapeloa on Sunday won M30 000 as the first prize in the inaugural Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA)
hackathon.
A hackathon is a coding event where computer programmers
compete in building software programmes.
The competition was meant to come up with possible tax software solutions which the LRA can adopt to enhance tax compliance.
The three-day event hosted 20 participants who battled it out for the top prize either in groups or as individuals.
Dubbed VATeran, the duo of Messrs Thoola and Mohapeloa won M30 000; two mobile phones and 10GB data for three months.
Both National University of Lesotho (NUL) graduates.
Mr Thoola graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics while Mr Mohapeloa holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
Finhack were named the runners-up and won M20 000 and 10GB data for three months.
Team Moroho came third and won M10 000 and 10GB data for three months.
The three winning softwares are expected to be further developed into a system which the LRA could potential end up adopting.
Speaking during the awards ceremony, LRA Commissioner General, Thabo Khasipe, said the hackathon was part of the implementation
of the LRA’s 2021- 2023 Rea Aha corporate strategy.
The strategy seeks to strike partnerships with key stakeholders to implement open innovation processes and practices that will address compliance related problems.
It also intendents to use the third party data and prepopulate tax and customs declarations to achieve automatic compliance.
“Innovation is one of our priorities at LRA, and what we are seeing here is human capital, which we want to harness to improve our financial capital,” Mr Khasipe said.
Mr Khasipe said harnessing innovation could allow the LRA to develop a software system that can be adopted by the rest of the African continent.
“We can actually be pioneers if we can design beautiful systems, we can export to other parts of the continent as our tax systems are similar.”
On their part, the winners expressed gratitude to the LRA.
“It has been an exciting but challenging three days where we learned a lot about taxation issues. We thank the LRA for coming up with this innovative theme,” Mr Thoola said.
The competition was sponsored by Econet Telecom Lesotho, Vodacom
Lesotho and the African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF).

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