MASERU- People need to know more about the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) in order to appreciate and understand where the money they are taxed for goes to rather than speculating or pinpointing LRA for fleecing the ratepayers’ hard-earned cash.
In an interview with the Informative Business recently, LRA Public Relations manager Pheello Mphana mentioned that it was very important for members of the public to understand what LRA does. It is for this reason, he said, that the LRA has embarked on a taxpayer education strategy in order to teach people about tax-related issues.
Mphana stated that LRA has a communication strategy whose main purpose is to make people aware of what LRA is all about and what it does. He said the organization is going around to explain the mandate of LRA and also to make people aware of their tax obligations as well as their rights in order to sensitize the clients about the procedures and the processes that are in place at the national taxation authority.
He further mentioned that the key responsibilities or key services of LRA are revenue collection, border management and advisory services. He also said that it is only through the taxes that LRA collects funds that the Government of Lesotho is able to provide public services, and these include, among others, infrastructure development and maintenance for such as national bridges and roads.
He went on to mention that when it comes to health care the taxes are used to build clinics, hospitals and for medication purposes, and when it comes to education, the taxes are used to build schools and to provide primary education.
He also said that when it comes to essential services, taxes are used to provide water, electricity as well as safety and security.
Mphana went further to explain that it is through taxes that LRA is collecting funds that assist the government to provide old age pensions and other grants.
“This clearly shows that LRA plays a critical role in as far as economic growth and development are concerned,” he said.
He stated that Lesotho is able to develop and look after its citizens if people pay their taxes. He again mentioned that LRA is the government agency through the Ministry of Finance. He also said that after the LRA was established in 2001, sales tax was abolished and replaced by value added tax (VAT).
Mphana went on to mention that LRA is an operationally autonomous body that was established by the LRA Act no 14 of 2001 to be the main body responsible for the assessment and collection, on behalf of the government, of specified revenue, for the administration and enforcement of laws relating to such revenue and for related matters.
He stated that LRA was established as a result of the government decision and as a matter of policy to merge three government departments, namely income tax, sales tax as well as customs and excise, and this the government did in its endeavor to provide efficiency in revenue collection.