Sekete Lesaoana and Lineo Mahlomola
The Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) on Monday launched an electronic payment system for value-added tax (VAT) and an electronic taxation platform for filing of pay as you earn (PAYE) returns.
The new digital platforms are part of RSLâ€™s modernisation efforts aimed at improving services.
The products will provide a convenient way of serving consumers as they will be able to pay and file from anywhere. Taxpayers need to register to use these platforms.
Speaking at the launch of the two platforms, RSLâ€™s acting Commissioner General, â€˜Mathabo Mokoko, said the systems would be live seven days after the launch.
Mokoko said the e-payment and e-taxation platforms are time-saving, reduce costs of stationery and help in avoiding costly visits to the RSL offices which also reduces manual labour.
â€œOur new services will offer our clients the best services on any device without any convenience,â€ Mokoko said.
â€œClients will even get payment notifications once the transaction processes have been completed so that we at the receiving end will not have to interfere with their busy schedules,â€ she added.
Finance and Development Planning minister Dr Retâ€™selisitsoe Matlanyane, who was the keynote speaker at the launch of the platforms, said adding more digital services for the tax authority is crucial in the fourth industrial revolution era.
She said Lesotho is taking part in digitalising revenue services to mordenise its services as part of the global change.
â€œWe are in the fourth industrial revolution and there is no turning back, Lesotho has to be a part of this revolution,â€ she said.
â€œWe had Covid-19 that made it impossible for us to move. The crisis made it necessary to move into technology even more to operate a business. I invite businesses to move into technology and e-commerce because thatâ€™s the way the world is moving,â€.
â€œLesotho has to be part of the revolution, it will develop schemes to help businesses to grow as to prevent joblessness and poverty, letâ€™s make lemonade out of lemons,â€ Dr Matlanyane said.
Speaking to Newsday on the sidelines of the launch, Lesotho Tax Modernisation Project manager, Mokhethi Mabea, said even an ordinary taxpayer who has registered their business with the RSL will benefit from the two platforms
â€œThe e-payment platform is meant for those that will be paying while the e-filing platform is for those that will be giving reports, and this is made so that business shouldnâ€™t appear to be expensive for anyone.
â€œWe did not build this for mega businesses only, besides the law requires that every business be registered with the RSL.
â€œAnd we will indicate which portfolio one is eligible for, these platforms are cheaper and easily accessible from oneâ€™s business. The e-payment platform will integrate with the two telecommunications companies in the country for payments and we are currently piloting with Vodacom Lesotho while on the side we are busy merging systems with Econet Telecom Lesotho. It will at a later stage involve the four commercial banks in the system,â€ Mabea said.