With suspicions that some traders do not declare their goods at all, the taxman – and ultimately the country – is potentially being robbed of millions of Pulas. Essentially it means less duty tax is collected on Chinese goods imported for re-sale in Botswana.
In an operation said to have started last year, BURS is targeting all Chinese traders and, as investigations continue, is reported to have seized goods worth millions.
When reached for comment, BURS General Manager – Investigations, Compliance, and Enforcement (ICE) Kaone Molapo explained the revenue authority does not disclose investigations on their clients to third parties.
Nevertheless, sources close to the operation told The Voice it is true BURS is going after the Chinese traders for both false and non-declarations.
“This means revenue losses because some goods are not declared while others are undervalued which means a drop in collection. It is a massive blow to the economy as millions are lost,” warned the insider, adding the tax-collector is also worried by the quality of such goods as they are mostly sub-standard.
According to the source, concerns over undervaluing were raised after incoming goods worth thousands of Pula were instead declared in the 100s.
Meanwhile, the impounding of merchandise from China is said to have driven-up the prices of normally affordable commodities – such as blankets and clothes, which are typically found in Chinese shops.