The Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) is determined to stop all tax leakages that have cost the country billions of pulas over the years. For a long time, one of the major challenges faced by BURS has been the collection of tax revenue from big firms that circumvent the process and evade taxes, resulting in the country losing the money it deserves.
Capacity Building and Expertise Enhancement
In response, BURS has sought to enhance its capacity and expertise in its large tax audit unit, with the help of the Africa Tax Academy, a South African firm appointed in February 2022. The company has assisted in restructuring the organization and improving data analytics skills. “We have engaged experts to assist in building our capacity, and in return, we have seen a great improvement in our tax collections,” said an insider at BURS.
Exceeding Revenue Collection Targets
In the same year, BURS was tasked with collecting P34.8 billion by December 2022. The agency surpassed the target, collecting P35.1 billion from income tax and VAT collections. Furthermore, it is expected that BURS will collect more revenue than it anticipated by the end of this financial year. “One of the achievements in the last year has been to shape the revenue service strategy and annual business plan to ensure that Burs collects the maximum revenue to uplift the lives of Batswana,” added a senior tax revenue officer.
Cracking Down on Tax Evasion
To address corruption at BURS, a number of employees who were allegedly aiding and abetting tax defaulters have been suspended over the past year. “Africa Tax Academy has been a critical component in cleaning up corruption at BURS. Already there are some senior officials who have been suspended or placed on administrative leaves while investigations are still ongoing,” explained the source.
Making Botswana the Dubai of Africa
According to the source, the ultimate goal is to make BURS a world-class revenue service and position Botswana as the Dubai of Africa. “We need to make Botswana the Dubai of Africa because it has precious resources that are sought worldwide,” she concluded.
Overall, BURS is committed to collecting maximum revenue to uplift the lives of Batswana by clamping down on tax evasion and improving its capacity and expertise. The agency has made significant progress, exceeding revenue collection targets and taking action against corruption. The ultimate goal is to position Botswana as a global leader in revenue collection and to use precious resources to benefit the country and its people.