Parliament has passed the Income Tax amendment bill which will exempt Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and other wholly owned government owned corporations.
Presenting the bill before parliament, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo said the amended was necessitated by concerns raised that there was a need to simplify laws relating to taxation policy as well as tax administration.
The intention of the amendment is to exempt BMC from taxation; however it also introduces a 4 percent tax on every livestock sold to any person, who is business; who buys cattle for slaughter or for feeding for slaughter.
The amended Act states that the income from sales of cattle to the BMC will be taxed like any other income in the hands of the recipients of such income and BMC will facilitate this by withholding tax whenever the BMC makes payments for the purchase of livestock.
The Act adds amounts paid for purchase of livestock to amounts that are subjected to withholding tax.
The Act also gives the Commissioner General the authority to make payments for refunds of over-paid income tax including interest. Refunds for income tax will be now processed by BURS without having to make a claim from the Consolidated Fund.
The Act further empowers the Commissioner General to apply any refund payable to any taxpayer towards the reduction of any tax, levy, interest or penalty payable by the taxpayer under any revenue law administered by Commissioner General.
Part of the Act, hotly contested by the opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) is where the expenditure incurred in making donations to Government such health facilities and other eligible donations to qualify as deductible expenditure.
The Act further state that deductions for provision of health facilities would be allowed if such donations are recommended by the Ministry of Health. “Equally, other donations will need to be prescribed by the Minister responsible for finance upon recommendations by the relevant sectoral ministries,” explained Matambo.
The Act make a threshold that in each case, donations eligible for deductions should not be less than P1000 in value and should not exceed 20 percent of the aggregate chargeable income of the person making such a donation.
Opposition MPs opposed the part of the act as they were of the view that the act creates more problems than solutions. Dr Tlamelo Mmatli said the decision to exempt BMC from paying tax and introduction 4 percent taxation on farmers was unjustified. He contended that it was simply transferring the burden from BMC to the farmers. Mmatli’s position was shared by his colleagues in opposition bench.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.