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Many Batswana open to higher taxes

…but not on the backs of small traders

Half of Batswana favour paying higher taxes if it will mean more government services, outnumbering those who would reduce both taxes and services, a new Afrobarometer study shows.

But most citizens see it as fair to tax rich people at higher rates than ordinary people, and few think the government should focus on collecting taxes from small traders and other people working in the informal sector.

Most Batswana believe that the government generally uses the taxes it collects for the well-being of the population, although many say tax avoidance is common.

The findings come at a time when the finance ministry is proposing increases in corporate and personal tax rates and doing away with some exemptions in order to offset a large budget deficit.

Key findings

▪ Half (50%) of Batswana favour paying higher taxes if it will mean more government services, while four in 10 (40%) would prefer lower taxes even if it means fewer government services.

▪ Only three out of 10 Batswana (31%) want the government to make sure that small traders and other people working in the informal sector pay taxes on their businesses. At the same time, a majority (63%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that it is fair to tax rich people at higher rates than ordinary people to help pay for government programs to benefit the poor.

▪ A majority (59%) of Batswana say the government usually uses the taxes it collects for the well-being of the population (Figure 3). But fewer than four in 10 (37%) say it’s easy to find out what taxes and fees they are supposed to pay to the government (Figure 4).

▪ Close to half (46%) of Batswana say citizens “often” or “always” avoid paying taxes they owe.

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018, and Round 8 surveys are currently underway.

Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice. The Afrobarometer national partner in Botswana, Star Awards Ltd., interviewed a nationally representative, random, stratified probability sample of 1,200 adult Batswana in July-August 2019.

A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Botswana in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017.

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GPH takes Gov’t head-on over faulty Covid-19 results

3rd July 2020
Gaborone Private Hospital

Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) has come out with guns blazing after they were accused of releasing false positive Covid-19 results which were later declared negative by the government task team force.

GPH insists that it is beyond doubt that their 8 positive Covid-19 results were indeed accurate.

This publication is in possession of a report that indicates how the government might have faulted with their results.  They narrate what might have caused the various results between laboratories.

The report indicates that one or more negative results do not rule out the possibility of Covid-19 virus infection. Furthermore a number of factors could lead to a negative result in an infected individual.

GPH is immovable in their results and believe that poor quality of the specimen containing little patient material (as a control, consider determining whether there is adequate human DNA in the sample by including a human target in the PCR testing) could be a factor in diagnosing whether the case reads positive or negative.

The hospital, in the report shared internally, also point out that another factor may be as a result of the mishandling and incorrect shipping of the specimen. The report also establishes that technical reasons inherent may be one of the reasons why results may vary.

This publication has also established that same test kits were used but with different time collection of the samples. GPH affirms that this might have also impacted why the results varied.

“We are happy with our quality and believe that reporting positives with one gene detected the right decision. With the other labs only calling positives when two genes are detected, they are possibly under reporting and releasing negative results that should be called positive based on the less stringent algorithm.”

Unconfirmed reports have indicated that the government has launched a thorough investigation into the matter as GPH faces possible retribution over the matter.

“The government knows they blundered and now want to silence GPH by indicating that they are the ones who faulted. There is a lot of mix up with how the government tests and confirms results as negative.” Botswana currently stands at 46 new cases with only 17 active cases with 28 recoveries and 1 death.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has also gone into his fourth quarantine since Corona was discovered in Botswana. According to a press release released on Thursday, there is a new positive Covid-19 result on one of the President’s officials.

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An enquiry into BPC tenders uncovers rotting corruption

29th June 2020
BPC

A confidential report from enquiry on the award of tenders at Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has recommended that key employees within the organisation be subjected to a Declaration of Assets exercise in a bid to find if they have been part of improper award of tenders cabal.

The confidential report seen by this publication was commissioned to give an overview on how procurement of equipment (imports) is conducted and awarded at BPC. The report titled “Enquiry into BPC tenders” which was released last month (5 May 2020), recommends that the organisation should be clear from the start whether they use selective tender or open tender process and which one will work for them.

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Court reinstates fired DIS agent

29th June 2020
Court reinstates fired DIS-agent-High-Court-Judge Godfrey Radijeng

High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has this week reinstated a Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent who was fired by the spy agency in August 2017. Justice Radijeng further ordered in the judgement that he be paid arrears from the time he was fired and for the cost of the litigation.

The reinstated DIS agent, Walter Matsoga, was in 2014 involved in a car accident and sustained injuries in the course of his clandestine job. More than a year later, on the 15th June 2015, the spy operative was subjected to a medical assessment at the instance of the DIS to determine his fitness to continue being in employment.  The assessment was carried out and he continued to be under the employ of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.

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