South East MP Odirile Motlhale on Monday called on the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, to enact new taxes on the wealthy, introduce luxury tax and restructure the government tendering programme to help boost government coffers.
He expressed the view while commenting on the Ministry of Finance’s budget allocation. Motlhale said it is time to tax luxury goods and expensive cars as another way to raise funds for government.
In a brief interview with The Telegraph, Motlhale said that government needs money badly and creating a separate tax regime for the rich and luxury items could significantly increase government’s offers.
“The rich are not that burdened so they can afford to pay extra monies in taxes and for luxury items,” he said.
Motlhale has also called for a review of government’s tendering programme arguing that, under the current arrangement, certain companies were exclusively and consistently getting government work to the detriment of others, mostly citizen owned.
He said that this is despite the fact that most of the companies succeeding in tender bids have a reputation for doing shoddy work and, in some cases, not completing projects.
“I think its time we outsource the adjudication of these tenders because the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal board (PPADB) has failed to eliminate corruption,” he said.
“We must give the adjudication of tenders to independent accounting firms because clearly our system is failing,” he stated.
“There is no public confidence in PPADB,” said Motlhale.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, has accused the Botswana Unified Revenue Services of being a law unto itself.
He said BURS needed to be closely monitored and added that the organization is vindictive. He said instead of negotiating payment terms with businesses, BURS is always ready to clamp down and shut down business.
He said that recently employees working for Zimbabwean businessman were left in the lurch after BURS sold the man’s property and clothing, leaving him pitiable. He said because the man was then abruptly thrown out of the country he sensed the case was more of xenophobia.
Ntuane’s view was also echoed by MP Wynter Mmolotsi who said that BURS has too much power.
He urged the minister to reign in on the institution to allow for a bit of flexibility in payment terms. He said at the rate BURS was moving it is going to run a lot of companies out of business.
Mmolotsi also welcomed the review of Ipelegeng programme. He urged government to consider extending Ipelegeng chores to include assistance in infrastructure development. He said Ipelegeng workers could be utilized in building of culverts, smallroads, painting and offer labour in other building tasks which do not require skilled manpower.