The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) is set to undergo a radical transformation within the next three years that could see the organisation assert its authority and achieve unparalleled efficiency at all its levels of operation.
To this end, BURS has developed its second Strategic Plan 2009-2014 and its main objectives for the next five years are to implement strategies that will improve taxpayer compliance as well as providing quality service to taxpayers.
Part of this will include improving the quality of service delivery which involves among others, drawing up the customer service charter as well as integrating the stand-alone processes and or systems.
To enhance tax administration capacity and provision of quality service to taxpayers, ┬á(BURS) has entered into a Technical Assistance agreement with the Swedish Tax Agency (STA) that will be funded by both the Botswana Government and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) on a 50/50 percent basis.
Acting ┬áMinister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Charles Tibone, has told parliament that the ┬áagreement will be implemented over a three (3) year period in the order of priorities to be pursued over the three year period that include, revenue modeling and forecasting, process re-engineering, tax registration processes and development of the BURS human resources. He pointed out that during the 2008/09 financial year; the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) recorded a total tax revenue collection of P19, 197.9 million compared to P17, 959 million in 2007/08, representing a growth of 6.9 percent.
The performance for the period under review was considered good enough given the unfavourable operational environment that resulted from the global financial and economic crisis.
Expectations have been raised that with the right acumen, and replenished operational conditions and environment, the prospects for BURS to assume world class ranking by way of high quality service and enhanced professional integrity deriving from the human capital development due during the stipulated strategic plan period are on a climb up.
“In its endeavour to bring services closer to taxpayers, BURS continues to set up inland offices in major centers in the country. During 2009/10 BURS opened an office in Palapye and another one is expected to be operational in Ghanzi by March 2010,”said Tibone. ┬á It was also stated by Tibone, that within the ambit of efforts at giving breath to the tax body’s national presence, the construction of the Maitengwe and Matsiloje Border Posts have been completed during the 2009/10 financial year, and the border posts have been operational since November, 2009.
The construction works to expand the Ramokgwebana border post are ongoing and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by May 2010, while BURS is also undertaking some temporary extension works at Pioneer Border Post.
Again there have been some maintenance works done which include staff houses at Kazungula and Ngoma border posts and paving of the Ramotswa border vehicle parking space.
Legislators learnt through the speech, that plans are afoot to expand and or where necessary refurbish some of the border posts in future as and when funds become available. Still in line with its strategic projections, BURS has floated tenders for the consultancy to design its Headquarters building that will be carried out during 2010/11 financial year. ┬á Yet another unequalled milestone recorded in Tibone’s Committee of supply presentation, was the announcement that BURS has commenced the procurement of non-intrusive cargo scanning X-ray equipment.
On account of the challenges posed by the advent of the 2010 June, World Cup activities, it is generally believed that move will go a long way in resolving illicit trade by detecting concealed consignments of illegal goods, as well as complimenting the planned regional policing against possible transfer of radioactive material.
┬áThe scanning equipment is expected to be in operation with effect from May 2010, while on the other hand, Stephen Williams, Director of the Department of Radiation Control, told the Sunday recently that his department planned an intensive training course jointly with UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the detection and ultimate protection against possible transfer of radioactive material for Border and relevant security personnel.