LRA strate­gic plan a ‘par­a­digm shift’

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

THE Le­sotho Rev­enue Author­ity (LRA) has com­mit­ted to en­hanc­ing their client-cen­tric ap­proach in the next five years, as the agency seeks to col­lect taxes more ef­fi­ciently to en­sure the growth of the econ­omy.

In its strate­gic plan for the 2014 — 2019 pe­riod, which contrasts with the pre­vi­ous three-year time spans, the rev­enue col­lec­tor out­lines its re­sponse to “the dire need to pro­vide fund­ing re­quired to grow the econ­omy, while min­imis­ing the cost of com­pli­ance to the client and min­imis­ing the cost of col­lect­ing that rev­enue”.it fur­ther notes that the at­tain­ment of the gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Strate­gic Devel­op­ment Plan (NSDP) is be­set with chal­lenges ow­ing to the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing South African Cus­toms Union (SACU) rev­enues and down­ward risks for the tex­tile sec­tor in light of the ex­piry this year of the United States’ African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA).

“Con­tin­ued growth in con­fronta­tion with the chal­lenges that Le­sotho faces, is sig­nif­i­cantly premised on her abil­ity to col­lect rev­enue that shall be able to sus­tain de­vel­op­men­tal ef­forts even in un­favourable eco­nomic times,” reads the strate­gic plan.

It also iden­ti­fied the cur­rent ex­change rate be­tween the Loti and US dollar, which is at over M11, say­ing it is im­pact­ing neg­a­tively on cap­i­tal costs of the min­ing in­dus­try, “which may de­ter growth in pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of ex­ist­ing mines, and post­pone new in­vest­ment in new min­ing op­er­a­tions”.

Ac­cord­ing to LRA Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Thabo Let­jama, the strate­gic plan­lan is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the “tax­payer-cen­tric” r-cen­tric” ap­proach the agency adopted in 2007.07.

“This plan builds on the solid foun­da­tio­nun­da­tion that we built in 2007 when we start­e­drted the tax­payer cen­tric­ity jour­ney as thee LRA,” said Mr Let­jama.

“It fur­ther aims to con­sol­i­date all our ef­forts since then, for us to be able to build a de­light­ful tax­payer com­pli­ance liance ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We have de­cided to move fromm an or­gan­i­sa­tion that de­signs ser­vices and con­sults tax­pay­ers and stake­hold­ers ers for their sup­port, to an or­gan­i­sa­tion on that un­der­stands the needs of thehe tax­pay­ers and stake­hold­ers and d re­spond by designing so­lu­tions thatat meet the client’s needs and sur­passes es their ex­pec­ta­tions.”

He said the new ew ap­proach would be a “huge par­a­digm shiftft from the way we do busi­ness cur­rently”.

“It re­quires us to have an un­der­stand­ing of what it takes to serve tax­pay­ers in this new way and re­quires us to in­vest in the nec­es­sary skills and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to sus­tain this com­mit­ment,” Mr Let­jama said.

“It also re­quires us to build our ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity to en­gage with, and work jointly with, all our clients in devel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of so­lu­tions to com­pli­ance prob­lems.”

In im­ple­ment­ing the strate­gic plan, the LRA has set out to ad­dress medium term and long-term “crit­i­cal is­sues” through spe­cific ac­tion pro­grammes.

Among the medium term is­sues is the need to mod­ernise the LRA’S pro­cesses and sys­tems. In line with its Cus­toms Mod­erni­sa­tion Pro­gramme, the author­ity has set out to re-de­sign and au­to­mate cus­toms pro­ce­dures through the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Asycuda cus­toms bor­der con­trol sys­tem. Tax pro­cesses would also be au­to­mated through the Or­a­cle Tax sys­tem as part of ef­forts to mod­ernise the sys­tem.

The LRA also in­tends to de­velop and im­ple­ment staff ca­pac­ity build­ing and re­ten­tion pro­grammes as well as to de­velop a cul­ture of ac­count­abil­ity through­out the or­gan­i­sa­tion among other ob­jec­tives. The long-term ob­jec­tives in­clude work­ing to en­sure rel­e­vant poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion are up­dated in line with chang­ing times, the devel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­te­grated bor­der man­age­ment strat­egy as well as de­vel­op­ing a strat­egy for new mar­kets and for the in­for­mal sec­tor among oth­ers.

Mr Let­jama also said the agency would also re­lent­lessly ad­dress non­com­pli­ance to en­sure that tax­pay­ers meet their obligations.

LRA Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Thabo Let­jama

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