- Customs revenue is a short term benefit that poses a major threat to most developing countries in Africa, Lesotho Revenue Authority Commissioner General Dr Charles Jenkins told a two day VAT Administrators in Africa forum in Maseru.
Jenkins said signing of Free Trade Areas between regional blocs means reduced customs revenues, stating that it also has negative impact for developing countries like Lesotho that collects over 70 percent revenue to supplement its budget.
"Improvement and mobilization of resources is critical to ensure economic stability for such countries," he said.
LRA was established in 2003 to carryover administration of taxes and to foster improvements in revenue collection and effective tax administration.
Jenkins urged VADA member states to learn from each others successes and failures to avoid making similar mistakes.
"Focus discussions of how tax payers should be brought on board to become loyal tax payers," he said, further indicating that VAT administrators should strive for excellence in tax collection.
Meanwhile, LRA has resumed chairmanship of VADA at the forum held in Maseru.
New Chairperson Maleshoane Morakabi said the baton Lesotho received, is a symbol of cooperation for growth and brighter future for Africa.
"This forum offers members an opportunity to join hands, find ways of ensuring collective quest for good and effective VAT administration," she said.
She said VAT is a growing source of revenue for developing countries with ability to improve lives of ordinary people. "We therefore hope to share experiences, exchange best practices by member countries and learn from them," she said.
She said VAT is heading to a strong turbulent era, with too many issues complicating its treatment, calling for administrators to understand and be proactive for effective management.
"Given the pace of change, we need as administrators to ensure that taxpayers are also assisted to comply with legislative requirements to avoid unnecessary costs to business," she emphasised.
Outgoing Chairman, Raphael Kamoto said VADA plays a critical role in enhancing VAT administration in Africa.
"Last year's forum, we agreed to form a committee for strategic plan to enhance organisation's activities," he said.
He said secretariat should also be strengthened to carryout organisation's projects and programmes effectively.
VADA was established in 1998, and now has 15 members from sub-Saharan Africa.
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