THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has launched a new five-year strategic plan to reinforce its tax collection systems that have been dogged by “poor leadership” after it failed to meet its revenue targets for the second year running.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the tax authority missed its target by M430 million which translates to a 6.4 percent shortfall, while in the 2017/18 financial year it missed the target by 607 million which translates into a 9.2 percent deficit.
According to the LRA board chairman, Robert Likhang, the strategic plan that was launched last Friday at Manthabiseng Convention Centre will run up to 2023.
In his presentation, Mr Likhang said the LRA had done some soul-searching before coming up with a collaborative long-term scheme.
Mr Likhang said among other things, their internal diagnosis revealed poor leadership culture which is evidenced by typical heavy handedness towards taxpayers.
He said the mandate of LRA is important and needed to be prioritised.
“We went back to the management with this mandate and told them that we should sit down and change the way we have been doing things and come back with a new strategy,” Mr Likhang said.
“One of the reasons for the need of new strategic plan is that our performance is declining. Our performance had not been too bad previously but starting from 2013/14, it has declined.
“This shows that all the strategic efforts that we made in the past did not give us control over our performance. The previous strategy has not worked.”
He said the board also established that the LRA had focused on heavy handed enforcement.
“We have appeared like the commissioner of police and seemed bent on imprisoning people instead of revenue collection.
“The board realised that these are major challenges that have hindered the fulfilment of the LRA’s mandate and we decided there was a need for a new formula.
“We then set down with the executive management under the leadership of the Commissioner General and came up with the strategies that will ensure that the current challenges are solved.”
LRA Commissioner General, Thabo Khasipe, said for the next five years they would build a service culture through a collaborative leadership.
“We are going to build a service culture through collaborative leadership. For the next five years, LRA is going to address the poor leadership culture,” Mr Khasipe said.