By: Mpho Shelile

Maseru – In a landmark move, Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Agents of Foreign Firms Association Lesotho (AFFAL). This strategic partnership underscores a shared commitment to enhancing transparency, compliance, and mutual understanding between the two entities.

RSL states that they are in the process of developing comprehensive guidelines and protocols to guarantee that foreign companies operating in Lesotho conduct their business transparently. Adding that their goal is to facilitate the exchange of information between RSL and AFFAL, fostering an environment built on openness and trust.

Through collaborative efforts, they seek to ensure that foreign firms comply with Lesotho’s tax regulations and meet all compliance requirements. Moreover, they plan to work together to enhance their services to their clients about the most recent tax laws and compliance strategies.

The Commissioner of Client Services and Head of Customs Revenue Services Lesotho, Mr. Rakokoana Makoa, stresses that RSL is currently developing comprehensive guidelines and protocols to ensure that foreign companies operating in Lesotho conduct their business transparently. 

Makoa explains that in January of this year, a proposed amendment was adopted, signed into law, to rectify all the irregularities that had previously prevented Agents of Foreign Firms Association Lesotho (AFFAL) from being legally registered.

“We then began working together, and in February 2024, we met with and started working closely with four ministries that are part of tax Lesotho,” he said.

He concludes by stating that they are proud to be launching this MoU. He further mentions that their expectations after the RSL General Commissioner officially launches this will be for all stakeholders involved to have contracts with foreign firms.

They should also have the necessary documents from the companies, which will reflect the amended code 8294, demonstrating activities of foreign entities. Additionally, they need to ensure that the agent obtains a valid agent code certificate from the RSL and that they are expected to update their systems for better services.

In the speech, Commissioner General Mathabo Mokoko emphasizes the significant progress made in promoting transparency and compliance among foreign firms in Lesotho through the signing of the MoU.

She articulates that the collaboration with AFFAL aims to establish a business environment that is fair and predictable for all parties involved.

Mokoko also highlights the achievement as a result of partnering and working closely with various government departments, including the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Business Development, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship, Ministry of Home Affairs and Police, and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences.

This collaboration focuses on ensuring regular compliance, fostering transparency, and creating a conducive business environment.

Through the Memorandum of Understanding, AFFAL and RSL are committed to sharing essential information to ensure that all foreign firms and agents operating within the country comply with the highest standards of legal and regulatory requirements.

Mokoko stressed that such measures not only safeguard Lesotho’s economic interests but also cultivate a business climate that is equitable, competitive, and supportive of sustainable growth.

“As we move forward, let us remember that the success of this partnership hinges on our continued dedication to transparency, integrity and innovation. Together, we can build a framework that not only enhances compliance but also promotes a culture of accountability and excellence within our business community and I look forward to the positive impact that our collaboration will bring to RSL and AFFAL and most importantly to the economy of Lesotho,” she concludes.

Tankiso Tšoaeli, the Chairperson of AFFAL and Head of FMCG, shared his enthusiasm about the new partnership with RSL. He emphasizes that this collaboration will bring significant benefits to AFFAL members in terms of clarity and support.

Tšoaeli also points out that the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) will not only solidify the partnership but also facilitate the introduction of new declaration requirements for large importers directly involved in importing goods from manufacturers into Lesotho.

This move is aiming at improving the importation process and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

“We are deeply committed to ensuring that our association upholds the highest standards of compliance and integrity,” Tšoaeli confidently states.

He also expresses his immense happiness about the newly formed relationship with RSL and extends his sincerest wishes for success in their future endeavors.

This Memorandum of Understanding signifies a robust and enduring commitment to fostering a cooperative and transparent relationship between Revenue Services Lesotho and the Agents of Foreign Firms Association Lesotho.

Both parties are steadfastly dedicated to working together to enhance the business environment in Lesotho, prioritizing the creation of a clear and confident operational landscape for foreign firms.