BURS exceeds 2019/20 target by P2 billion
Construct a mega one stop service at the border
Pioneer on average amasses P4m per month
Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) expects improvement in revenue collection and service delivery at the Pioneer border post which is getting a mega facelift with the erection of a classic One Stop Border Post Service at the tune of P500 million.
The local revenue service has earmarked the Pioneer border post as one of the strategic entry points that has potential to unlock growth for revenue collection.
BURS General Manager (South Region), Gaone Thela, revealed that the one stop border post would be crucial in many aspects.
Thela said the Pioneer One Stop Border Post – located near the town of Lobatse in the south edge of the country –will resemble that of Kazungula in the north and linking Botswana with Zambia.
“The one stop border posts services are becoming very important aspect on our tax collection mobilisation efforts. The pioneer border post is at the centre of regional trade as it is based on the Trans Kalahari Corridor, hence BURS will benefit from the trade that will blossom,” he added.
Optimistic Thela also said that the border post after expansion will attract more regional trade. The border expansion which is divided into two (2) phases will be completed in September 2023.
Senior Customs Officer Annah Gaeratelwe said the developments will boost tax revenue collection, adding that the Pioneer border collects P4 million on a monthly basis. She said it is lower on both Customs and Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue as compared to other borders.
In addition, Gaeratelwe observed that the informal sector traders have been struggling at the border post due to delays of three days COVID-19 results issuance as they can’t afford rapid tests.
Thus, she said some of the traders who import goods from South Africa resolved to form a consortium and pay some fees to the transporters to buy goods on their behalf which is more effective.
Kitso Keipeile, Project Coordinator from Pego Projects, said the facelift of the border will also include building of 198 residential plots for BURS staff at low, medium and high costing respectively.
“Low cost housing will comprise of nine blocks with168 units. Medium cost housing of 11 blocks will have 22 units and high costing housing for the executive will have eight units. Phase 1 of the expansion is seating at 24% in terms of progression and is residential. Phase 2 entails the One Stop Service facility, which is the main aspect of the project. It will be delivered on time,” he said.
Meanwhile, BURS is anticipates to collect P43 billion in taxes revenue during 2021/ 22 fiscal year. Acting Commissioner General Segolo Lekau disclosed that BURS has done exceptionally well in 2020 by raking P39 billion; exceeding the initial target of P37 billion which was revised due to Covid-19.
“We have exceeded the target by P2 billion and we are eyeing to collect to P43 billion this year. We are determined and will achieve this without doubt. Covid-19 brought some hiccups towards tax collection,” said Lekau, addressing the media while opening BURS media training workshop at Lobatse.
He said revenue service is now undergoing a TADAT (Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool).
“The objective of which is to measure the effectiveness of the operations of a tax administration against international best practices and one area under our assessment is our publicity, education and communication initiatives,” said BURS chief Lekau, noting that tax is crucial for economic growth.
Lekau said local average tax collection to GDP has been between 20-22%, which compares quite favourably with other Southern African countries.