- Tax commissioner says haul is in response to finance minister’s urging
- Speaks of alarming rate of smuggling of fresh produce since import ban
- Makgolo says BURS is coming down hard on smugglers caught
As at the end of May 2022, Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) revenue collection for the financial year 2022/23 stood at P8.55 billion, surpassing a target of P7.74 billion, BURS Commissioner General, Jeanette Makgolo, has said.
This is an increase of P2.26 billion on the amount collected in the corresponding period of the prior year (2021/22).
These efforts come against the backdrop of the budget speech earlier this year in which the Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, noted that to underpin Botswana’s long-term fiscal stability, the domestic revenue base must be broadened by extending the tax net and improving the efficiency of revenue collection.
“The finance minister’s budget speech saw BURS being assigned to collect approximately 70 percent of what is required to fund the national budget with the tax revenue collection estimated at P46.4 billion,” Makgolo told members of the Editors Forum on Monday.
“It must be noted that we have other revenues that we also collect on behalf of other agencies. As BURS, we are mindful that we have to do our level best to collect revenue to ensure recovery of the economy.”
Meanwhile, Makgolo disclosed that smuggling of fresh produce into Botswana has been going on at an alarming rate since the ban on importation of fruits and vegetables in December last year.
“We see vegetables and fruits coming into our country, yet the ban is ongoing,” she said. “Those who are caught smuggling … will be charged in accordance with provisions of the Customs Act which provides that we impose a fine not exceeding P1 million or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.”
“Those caught smuggling will be charged not less P50 000, that is first time offenders caught smuggling vegetables valued at less than P2 500. We have been charging smugglers about P4 000.”
“For vegetables valued over P2 500, the fine will be not less than P450 000. We have also heightened our anti-smuggling efforts by reinforcing our scanner operations, K9 units and our flexible anti-smuggling team.”