New Customs Bill tabled in Parliament

New Customs Bill tabled in Parliament

MASERU-A new Customs and Excise Bill which is meant to ease collection of taxes at the borders was tabled in Parliament this week.
The chairman of the Parliamentary economy cluster, Mahooana Khati, who is the MP for Quthing, said while the new law will help make the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA)’s job easy at the border, it will also “help businessmen import and export easily”.

The Bill was sent to parliament during the 2018/2019 fiscal year but the cluster has only just finished deliberating on it.
Khati said the Bill, once enacted into law, will make it easier for people to clear their goods. This will stop congestion at the borders.
“Here we will use technology instead of long paperwork,” Khati said.

He said it was well-known that some businessmen smuggle goods without declaring them at the border hence the need to come up with laws that will allow technological use to stop the practice.
“The government loses a lot of money because of that, the Bill will also help improve the services at the borders,” he said.
He said the information will now be kept efficiently as technology will be used, allowing the government to trace every product and exactly where it comes from.

His said the customs and excise will be operational in the SADC region where all the businessmen will be known.
He also said there are often huge delays in the process to clear goods at the borders adding that the new law will make the whole process smoother.
“They spend days there with their loaded trucks and some even give up and leave,” he said.

He said the new law will also improve the quality of service and quality of information, adding that the law will help rectify some mistakes while procuring goods in South Africa.
He also said the law will give the LRA Commissioner-General powers to penalise businessmen on minor issues.
“It will only take a day to give a judgment to businessmen who smuggle or refuse to declare their goods,” he said.

Khati said the loyal businessmen will be awarded for their loyalty in declaring their goods at the borders.
The Bill will help increase compliance by both importers and exporters.
Moreover, he said, at the borders the businessmen will be expected to come with their electronic I-pads to speed up the clearing process.
The law will fall under the Ministry of Finance, he said.

Seconding the Bill, a member of the cluster, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, said she seconds that the House accepts the cluster report because the current law was made in 1982 when internet usage was not common.
She added that the Bill will enable the businessmen to declare their goods in the comfort of their homes through electronic means.
She also said the Bill will help the country by ensuring there are no revenue leakages.

The Bill will help do import and export trade facilitation easy,” Tšita-Mosena said.
She said the Bill will help balance the business trade between Lesotho and South Africa.

Nkheli Liphoto

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