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LRA exceeds target by five percent

TEFO TEFO

MASERU — The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) exceeded its revenue collection target by five percent for the last financial year.

LRA commissioner-general Thabo Letjama told a media conference in Maseru on Friday that the revenue collector was tasked by the government to collect M3.126 billion in revenue for the 2010–2011 financial year.

The financial year ended on March 31.

Letjama said the revenue authority managed to collect M3.277 billion, which was five percent above target.

“We have exceeded the target given to us with over M150 680 000,” he said.

The bulk of the revenue was collected from workers in the form of “Pay As You Earn”.

“Most of the revenue comes as tax deducted from salaries, fringe benefits and profits from companies. However, we faced some challenges in tax collection as we had just come from  a global recession,” Letjama said.

The impact of the recession could be identified through the way tax payers behaved towards paying their dues.

Some would ask for permission to delay submission of tax returns.

“This affected our performance in tax collection,” the LRA boss said.

The difficult economic times also led to incidents whereby some tax payers evaded paying tax through fraudulent means.

Letjama said some LRA employees were involved in corruption activities by facilitating tax evasion.

“We had to take some cases to the courts of law while some employees involved in corruption activities were released from work.”

He said four employees were fired on corruption-related charges in the past financial year while 10 lost their jobs in the 2008-2009 financial year.

“By collecting taxes we are preparing for the country’s self-reliance,” Letjama said.

Finance Minister Timothy Thahane in his budget speech in February said LRA was the government’s main source of revenue.

However, he failed to specify the exact amount LRA contributed to the fiscus.

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