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More tax leakages threaten African countries

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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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Market Street day supports local products

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has encouraged citizens to promote and support local products thus contributing to employment creation and economic development.

Speaking during the ministry’s Market Street day on Saturday, the trade minister said the ministry came up with the initiative to expose local products to the national market. “The plan is to keep growing so that we get Batswana products in the shops and get Batswana to know the products in the shops,” said Kenewendo. Market street day was initiated last year as a platform to add on to the continuing efforts to grow local businesses. This year, retail sector, including Shoprite, Choppies and Ackerman’s from South Africa participated in the exhibition.

Kenewendo pointed out that supporting local products helps reduce export of jobs. “Most of Batswana will say they don’t want to buy locally produced goods because they are of low quality, we need to buy from them so that they grow. When we buy products from other countries we are exporting jobs, why should we export jobs?” she asked rhetorically. Economic diversification drive should not be a Government initiative alone, only but all citizens should contribute, she concluded.

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Botswana behind in ease of doing business

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Botswana has been challenged to improve easy of doing business for the country to remain competitive amongst its peers.

The Director of Investor Facilitation and Relations at Special Economic Zones Authority’s (SEZA), Neo Mahube recently told delegates at the two- day investment symposium dubbed Doing Business in Botswana, Transitioning Botswana that the country needs to be globally competitive.“The world is growing better than we are, there is something that we are not doing right, despite our political stability and sound economic policies,” said Mahube.

Currently, Botswana lags behind Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa on the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Mahube said bottlenecks that investors and local startups face to register a business should be resolved.

“We need to transform the way we are doing business, if we are to bring businesses to Botswana,” said Mahube, adding that the country needs to be as efficient as possible to start a business, apart from improving credit efficiency.

She however applauded government for legislation amendment initiatives that have already been put in place ahead of the transformation journey. Mahube said through transforming the ease of doing business the country has potential to create employment.

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