Various stakeholders in Maun have called chronicled how the Botswana Unified Revenue Services’ (BURS) tax collection system ‘Lekgetho Live System has failed them, and have further urged that it be improved for efficiency.
Implemented in 2020 at a cost of P 100 million, Lekgetho Live is a tax management and revenue collection system that replaced the Integrated Tax Management System (ITMs). It allows tax payers to pay register, file returns and pay their dues online.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting held in Maun this week, they complained that the system which was meant to ease service delivery, has turned out to be user -unfriendly and restricts them in the process.
Maun Lodge Director, John Wellio called on BURS to perfect its tax payment system as it has some failures which lead to manual submission of tax returns instead of the intended online platform.
Wellio is of the view that Botswana has great potential for tax collection, but there were those businesses that took advantage of the lax system to evade tax. This has led to the country losing a lot of money to tax evasion.
He called for the taxman to explore other tax collection methods that would maximise on collection, and also efficiency of the system.
Okavango Wilderness Safaris representative Bakang Thekiso also urged BURS to invest more on ICT, noting that the tourism sector is compliant and willing to pay tax as required by law, but added the only set back was the inefficient system which they tend to rely on to submit tax returns.
Ngamiland Adventure Safaris and Riley’s Garage Manager Cathy Kays raised concern about pending and unresolved issues with BURS because of the system. She highlighted that they have over three years withheld tax returns because of the system which she said led to inconveniences. She has since urged BURS to speed up its process in resolving these issues.
Responding to the concerns, BURS Information Technology General Manager Luther Mabona acknowledged the challenges that were raised by stakeholders and has assured that they are working tirelessly to resolve them.
Meanwhile, BURS Commissioner General, Jeanette Makgolo revealed that they have embarked on a journey of modernizing ICT infrastructure with the view to enhancing tax compliance and effective taxpayer service. She noted that several queries regarding the way they conduct their business have been raised by customers in the past and have been taken on board with a view to rectify the system.
“As a way of resolving stakeholder’s complaints regarding the suboptimal performance of the Tax Administration ICT systems, Botswana Revenue Services (BURS) is in the process to review their main tax administration systems to improve its functional efficacy,” she revealed.
Makgolo said there is need to fully accomplish digitization of their services, to ensure tax compliance and efficient collection methods.
“My roadmap, which I put into action when I joined BURS last year, is also premised on the need to promote an engage citizenry to enhance voluntary compliance by building a taxpaying culture through engaging taxpayers, building productive partnerships, leveraging technology, data and innovative staff,” she noted.