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More tax leakages threaten African countries



Choppies is arguably the biggest retail store in the country

Tax administrators in Africa have been challenged to embrace digitilisation to improve tax collection.

Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) this week implored African countries to embrace the 4th industrial revolution and get better at collecting revenue.“We need to build technologies to meet demands of digitilisation,” said Wort at ATAF 5th General Assembly in Gaborone.

He said unless the continent moves fast to make new rules to support tax collection in the rapidly digitalizing globe, more leakages are to be suffered by African countries, already tormented by either tax avoidance and evasion.

Wort said digitilisation is revolutionising cross-border trade, while free trade zone initiatives are also threatening taxes usually collected by governments.Citing tourism industry, Wort said the continent’s safari may in the future not benefit local economies but host countries of companies that operate tourism outfits in Africa.

He said a company may operate a safari venture in Africa while based overseas, meaning all bookings and reservation will be done through the host country with little trickling down to the safari destination.

ATAF with 38 countries that have been members of the continent’s premier tax body over the past nine years envisage getting vibrant solution to challenges the continent face on tax. Tunde Fowler, ATAF Council chairman said it is critical for the continent to swiftly move and ensure its tax legislation and system are improved to meet the global standards.

“While the developed world was fine tuning the tax sector, we were busy selling our resources,” Tunde, added that if Africa does not improve her tax laws in the digital global, more revenue collection losses will be incurred.

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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The MidweekSun Admin



Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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