LRA hits target

LRA hits target

MASERU – THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has met its target in the first quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year. So far the LRA has collected M1.7 billion, which is 33 percent of the set M6.8 billion. Set monthly targets were exceeded except in June when the set target of M780.8 million was not met by M76 million, which is 9.2 percent of the target.
This was revealed on Tuesday during a press briefing on the new strategic plan 2019/2023 of the LRA’s Rea Aha (We Are Building).
According to Lineo Tšeuoa, Acting Senior Manager of LRA’s Delivery Unit, the failure to meet the target was driven mainly by the poor performance of corporate income tax.
“Not all big companies have come on board to file for their income tax during this month,” Tšeuoa said.

However, all in all, there seems to be a positive change which she credited to their new strategy, Rea Aha.
“We are now focused on building a service culture through collaborative leadership.”
She said that previously, the LRA had a poor leadership culture characterised by autocratic leadership, heavy enforcement culture, big bang approach and lack of agility among others.
Over time this strategy has failed to produce the desired results and had an impact on noncompliance behaviour.

“We have not been able to collect the set remittances in the past two years, yet we have been spending more on tax collection,” she said.
“We actually have the highest cost of collection in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with Botswana spending less than the set international benchmark in collection costs.”
In the financial year 2016/2017 LRA missed the set target of M6.4 billion by M430.8 million while in the year 2017/2018 the set target was M6.5 billion which was missed by M607 million.

“Our performance was declining and we had to come with new strategies to solve this challenge and become the best we can be hence the birth of Rea Aha 2019/2023 strategy,” Tseuoa said.
She mentioned that it is their hope that with this new strategy, compliance will go higher and paying and filing for taxes can become fashionable and attractive to everyone.

“The law enforcement strategy was focused mainly on the noncompliant audiences and failed to ease the process for those already doing the right thing,” she said.
As a result, the LRA was the talk of town for all the wrong reasons, everyone had something to complain about from poor customer service to disintegrated systems.
To better serve the nation and be able to meet their targets the LRA pledged to invest in spiritual, human, social, innovation and financial capital.
“We want to have competent staff, enhance service delivery channels, build brand recognition and financial sustainability.”

’Manneheng Mopeli, Chief Corporate Service Officer, said as another way to improve service delivery, the LRA will build an LRA house that will be a one stop shop.
“We already have a site. We are currently in talks with the Local Government and hopefully things will start rolling,” Mopeli said.
According to Thabo Moleko, Commissioner of Domestic Taxes, the political instability has affected LRA negatively as the parliament has not been able to pass laws necessary for its improved performance.

“We are still using the Income Tax Act of 1993. We have done all the necessary things we were supposed to do but parliament has not been able to work on the documents we submitted due to the constantly changing governments in the past three years,” Moleko said.
He said in an effort to make it attractive for customers to comply, the LRA started a tax lottery this year which ended with the winner chosen from a pool of compliant customers and walked away with a brand new Toyota 4×4.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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