Friday, October 23, 2020

BURS trudging on right track ÔÇô says boss

The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) collected tax revenue amounting to P37.489 billion in the financial year 2014/15, compared to P32.015 billion in 2013/14, official documents show. 

As a result, the revenue growth rate was 17.1 percent while that collected exceeded the target of P35.782 billion by P1.707 billion or 4.77 percent

At the same time, it has emerged that the tax collecting agency had its cost of collection pegged at P469.48 million for the collection of P37.489 billion. This translates into a cost to collection ratio of P1.00/ P79.85. The previous year’s cost to collection ratio was P1/P80.33. 

BURS registered a good performance during the financial year 2014/15 as the revenue service once again surpassed the revenue target set by the government in spite of the constraints. The financial year was the first of implementation of the new funding arrangement and some major projects were commenced which are expected to enhance the ability of the organisation to better execute its mandate. 

BURS believes that the success achieved was made possible by the contribution of all its employees and cooperation from taxpayers and other stakeholders. 

BURS Commissioner General Ken Morris said the main driver of growth was the economic performance due to the buoyancy of the mining sector and improvements to the VAT administration.  

On the tax revenue collections as a percentage of GDP, it showed a consistent growth from 2010/11 where it was 20.9 percent and grew to 25.1 percent in 2014/15. Morris stated that since inception of BURS this percentage has hovered around 25 percent, indicating that the collections are roughly following the growth of GDP. He added that this compares favourably with that of other comparator economies.

BURS has admitted that it was currently facing challenges that involved people, processes, customers and as well as financial challenges. Old systems are still a disadvantage as well inefficient processes. Expected to be addressed are the financial challenges including return on investment, cost effectiveness, tax gap, tax arrears and also transfer pricing. BURS stated that it has met its revenue mobilisation target consistently and has accomplished this within the established budget, adding that this pattern of performance has been repeated almost every year since inception.

However, BURS said its strategic plan set a high bar for itself in its mission and vision of world leading performance standards. Its interventions includes investment in ICT systems, standardisation of processes, process re-engineering, new service platforms, improved communication, automation and customer service focus. Other interventions are to close the tax gap, risk management, project management, tax maximisation, cost control, training, legislation and international cooperation.

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