The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), which now administers the Vocation Training Levy Fund, plans to amend its regulations, to cater for other levels of training.
The training levy is a tax based on an employer’s turnover, which is collected and deposited into the Vocational Training Fund. The purpose of the fund is to reimburse employers the costs accumulated for training citizen employees.
HDRC communications officer, Topo Rabasima said individuals who pay the levy had requested that the fund should cover Masters and PhD programmes, as well as other professional short courses. “During the months of September to October last year, there were nationwide stakeholder consultations on the envisaged changes to the regulations,” he said.
The levy is collected by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and categorised under VAT returns. The amount collected is based on the annual turnover of any Botswana company that registered under the VAT act.
HDRC now administers the Vocational Training Levy fund as the HRDC fund following the rationalisation of the then BOTA and TEC to BQA and HRDC, respectively. According to Rabasima, there has been a very low rate of claims made by employers since the introduction of the levy seven years ago.
“HRDC statistics shows that as of June, 30, 2015, only about 1554 companies out of the 11,000 registered companies are actively claiming the levy which is almost 16 percent of the eligible levy payers,” she said.
On average, about P250 million is collected annually from approximately 11,000 companies paying the training levy. The Vocational Training Levy Fund, which was established to promote skills development of human capital in the country, has collected almost P1.5 billion since its inception. As of June 30 this year, the HRDC fund has received claims amounting to P600 million.
The communications officer lamented that in a few instances, some employers make claims from the fund though they had never sent any staff on training, a problem she said they would like to do away with through precise monitoring.
Rabasima noted that part of the levy funds that have not been paid out to employers over the years have been used to finance special groups, as well as other human resource development initiatives, particularly those related to artisan training and internship programmes.