The P70 billion weight on the BURS

Carrying the load: The BURS will be expected to deliver 76% of next year’s budget revenue
Carrying the load: The BURS will be expected to deliver 76% of next year’s budget revenue

BURS is tasked with collecting up to P71.3 billion from various taxes in the 2024-25 budget, or just over 76% of the envisaged revenues for the year. The BURS showed its strength in pursuit of P60bn for this year, but is the latest target a mountain too high? Mmegi Staffer MBONGENI MGUNI & Correspondent OTLARONGWA KGWEETSI report

Draft budget estimates released this week by the Finance ministry show that BURS has an even steeper mountain to climb in the new financial year which begins on April 1. According to the numbers, the BURS will be tasked with collecting P71.3 billion in the 2024-25 financial year, a figure that represents 76% of the P93.5 billion in revenues government expects to accumulate. The task before the BURS is essentially to collect nearly 80 thebe out of every pula the government expects to receive in the next financial year. Piling more pressure onto the challenge is the fact that the collection target the BURS has this year, is linked to a high-stakes stimulus budget in which authorities are planning historic spending of P102.3 billion. While a sizeable portion of the BURS’ collection target is out of the taxman’s control, such as the level of mineral taxes and customs revenues, the portion under the agency’s power to influence is earmarked for significant increases in the next financial year.

For instance, the draft estimates forecast that non-mineral income taxes will increase from P15.9 billion this year, to about P22 billion in 2024-25, while Value Added Tax (VAT) is expected to jump from P12 billion to P15 billion over the same period. All told, government is hoping the BURS powers revenues to the forecast P93.5 billion level in 2024-25, but questions are already being raised about these projections. “There are huge increases projected in domestic revenues, notably non-mineral tax and VAT of nearly 40% for income tax and 30% for VAT,” prominent economist, Keith Jefferis, said at the FNBB budget review on Tuesday.

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