Debt management, tax audits and investigations are key areas that have been aff ected
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo has confirmed the shortage in staff facing the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) which has resulted in the failure to carry out the necessary enforcement activities to maximize the country’s revenue.
Responding to Selebe Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse last week in parliament, Mathambo indicated that the shortage in working personnel at the BURS had particularly been realized in key areas of enforcement such as debt management, tax audits and investigations.
“Madam Speaker, I confirm that the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has experienced staff shortages and other constraints which have cumulatively hampered effective delivery of services to the taxpayers,” said the Minister.
“Shortage of manpower has been particularly realized in the areas of debt management, tax audits and investigations. Madam Speaker, in order to address these challenges, BURS has recently made significant investments in the use of information technology to simply processes and enhance operations,” Matambo said.
He added that the ministry and BRUS have acknowledged the need to particularly pay urgent attention to the area of enforcement.
“My ministry and BURS have indeed recognized that the area of enforcement is an area that requires urgent attention. BURS is therefore increasing the manpower resources in that area of work. In addition, BURS has realized the need to develop skills in the fight against new generation tax avoidance schemes such as transfer pricing and treaty shopping,” ended the minister.
Meanwhile, Mathambo revealed that his ministry has given consideration to introduce wealth tax.
“Finally, Madam Speaker, my ministry has given consideration to allow only high-income earners and those with additional income to file tax returns. However, given the measures that BURS is putting in place to improve its performance and taxpayer compliance, such as the use of technology, the implementation of this initiative has been delayed to allow the uptake of such measures,” he was yet again responding to another inquiry from MP Keorapetse.