Connect with us

Business

ATAF suggests tax relief measures

Published

on

ATAF suggests tax relief measures

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has in the spread of the Covid-19, suggested a few measures on how tax authorities can deal with the current situation.

While the local tax authority, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has put in place its own measures, the body of which BURS is a member has put forward its own suggestions.

One of the suggestions made is the extension of deadlines for filing tax returns to accommodate the disruption taxpayers may be facing due to the pandemic.

However, the organization says the extension should be based on the compliance level of the taxpayer but has suggested that all taxpayers be considered, as the extension will play a dual role of easing the burden on taxpayers and limiting the transmission risk of revenue staff where there are limited digital channels or none.

The other measure that has been suggested to the tax authorities to consider is to grant taxpayers flexible payment plans like monthly or bimonthly installment payment for a certain period beyond the due date.

This ATAF has said would ease some of the economic burden exerted by Covid 19 on taxpayers.

The body says the flexible payment plan may also include the suspension of payments for a certain period.

Some of the factors to be considered when offering flexible payment plans include compliance history of the payer and economic sectors.

Tax authorities have also been advised to suspend penalties and interests for late filings by taxpayers.

Furthermore, authorities have been advised to consider temporary tax rates reduction as another way to ease the economic burden brought onto the taxpayers by the pandemic, which has so far claimed over 100,000 lives globally.

However, in considering this measure, ATAF is of the view that the jurisdiction should be clear on the period covered by the reduction and the legal framework to safeguard such.

ATAF has cautioned that in case of consumption taxes like value Added Tax (VAT), benefits may not reach the intended public as suppliers can absorb the reduced rate as part of the price mark up in jurisdictions where there is no price control.

BURS, meanwhile, has announced it will allow for deferral of 75 percent of any two quarterly payments between March and September 2020 for businesses with deferred payments to be repaid from March next year.

The local tax authority has also reduced VAT refunds period from 60 days to 21 days.

Advertisement

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Crafting a new life

Published

on

Crafting a new life

The Enterprising Welder Me and My Business

Absorbed and happy in his work as a car mechanic, an unlikely request from a client three years ago changed the course of 35-year-old Bokamoso Selthabi’s life forever.

The self-taught welder now designs and makes various products from metal, including troughs, trailers, cages, kraal fences and other farm implements.

Having initially set-up shop in the North West of South Africa, his home of three years, the Morwa native retraced his steps back to Botswana to continue Bucha Rest Welding.

Recalling the meeting that altered his existence, Setlhabi told Voice Money he was working as a mechanic when a customer asked him to build a trailer for him.

“I made the product for him. After that he brought two more guys wanting my services. From there it grew into a fully-fledged business,” he explained.

“The business has now been running for two years based in South Africa. It is only at the beginning of this year that we relocated to Botswana,” continued the multi-talented craftsman, adding he briefly explored the Namibian market as well.

While he is still new to the local market, with much of that time blanketed by Covid-19 restrictions, Selthabi admits he is yet to reach a point where he can say business is as good as it was in South Africa.

“So far it has been a bit difficult locally. Some of the products that we do like metal kraals are still not highly rated here but we are working hard to market such products as a good alternative to wooden kraals,” he noted, a steely determination evident in his tone.

Setlhabi explained that one of the perceived disadvantages of products like metal kraals is because the metal conducts heat.

However, he points out that this can be overcome by simply applying paint.

“The good thing about it is that it is durable and lasts longer than other materials used to construct kraals,” he highlighted.

Despite the current low uptake of his products, the enterprising welder is optimistic his fortunes will soon turn around.

“It is promising because, when you work with customers who are not used to what you are doing, you have to carry out extensive marketing of your products. We hope when life goes back to normal after the pandemic there will be some improvement,” he said, adding that items such as feeding containers have proved popular and are in demand.

“We also have customers waiting across the country,” he added.

Other challenges – and the one Setlhabi describes as his biggest – is copycats who attempt to duplicate his work ‘but often fail to match my skills’.

“We have social media pages where we post our products. People would want to do exactly the same but often do not succeed because our designs are unique and the quality is top-notch,” said the National Craft Certificate (NCC) holder proudly.

As the business is still at infancy stage, he has engaged one person to assist but hopes as the enterprise grows he will be able to employ more.

Continue Reading

Business

Battling for booze

Published

on

Battling for booze

Liquor industry wants alcohol sale ban lifted

Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) is lobbying for government to follow the example of neighbouring countries and lift the ban on alcohol sales.

Their main reasoning being that citizens who live close to the border may be tempted to sneak out of the country in their desperation to buy liquor. They note this would be detrimental to the economy as well posing a serious health hazard.

The Association Chairman, Mothusi Molokomme told Voice Money they believe the ban – in place since 27 March – should be lifted to allow the public to purchase alcohol and consume it at home.

As much as the main focus is for bottle stores and wholesalers to open for trade, Molokomme revealed they also want bars to be opened, noting they are the only centres of distribution in some of the country’s remoter areas.

He stressed that bars should be allowed to operate on a ‘takeaway’ basis but only after they satisfy Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“The main worry is that there will be loitering around the bars. But it is our belief that operators will strictly adhere to the regulations and allow for takeaways only,” stated Molokomme.

The Chairman pointed to the recent surge in homebrews as indication that the ban should be lifted.

During the period of lockdown, the police have recorded escalating cases of homebrews, which in some instances have even led to the loss of drinkers’ lives.

“There is also a regional factor because South Africa has announced it will be opening next week. Namibia is opening as well and Zambia has always remained opened and because of our porous borders, we may see the illegal coming in of liquor,” continued Molokomme.

He said areas located along the borders of these countries pose a threat to liquor contraband.

While the association advocates for the ban to be lifted, he says as the industry, they will also intensify their message for safer consumption and promote good behaviour among consumers to exercise precautionary measures.

“We are hoping that we will reach an agreement. It will be difficult to convince government when it comes to opening of bars, but we cannot sideline the bars because, in some areas they are the only available points of sale,” reiterated Molokomme, who doubles as the Managing Director of Distell Botswana.

The association was scheduled to meet with the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame this week to map a way forward regarding the sale of alcohol.

Continue Reading

Sponsored ads

ABSA COVID-19 Fund
Advertisement
Advertisement


Trending