Mbabane: The Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA) has meaningfully contributed towards reducing the country’s reliance on Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue to fund its budgetary obligations.
This was an observation made by outgoing Chairperson of the SRA Governing Board S’thofeni Ginindza. The chairperson made this known through his statement contained in the tax collecting agency’s 2018/19 Annual Report.
“The SRA has meaningfully contributed towards reducing the country’s reliance on SACU revenue, funding more than half of government expenditure compared to an average of about 40 percent contribution by domestic taxes before the SRA was established,” Ginindza said.
Ginindza who also doubles as Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) board chairperson went on to say that the SRA has consistently demonstrated strong performance in recent years, surpassing revenue targets, year after year. “The average revenue growth in the past five years has been above 11 percent,” he said.
The no-nonsense giant of a man who, for the past two years, has been buffeted by stinging political forces who wanted him out as board chairperson for exposing alleged corruption at EEC, however, decried the non-implementation of two policies and challenging economic conditions and operating environment in the year under review, which he said weighed down the performance of the organisation, resulting in the organization collecting 9.0 percent below the set target and remaining 6.0 percent above last financial year’s (2017/19/8) collections.
According to the report, the SRA ended the 2018/19 financial year with E8.9 billion (about EUS$499 761.44). The exact amount of the collected revenue is E8 995,706,402 against a target of E9,878,684,868 (US$548,818,826).
Ginindza further said limited funding slowed down the organization’s modernization and reform programme, placing the capacity for future revenue generation at risk. Ginindza, who has been the epitome of success in many organizations he has been tasked to lead, went on to say: “On the operational side, there was a saving on operational costs; we achieved a saving of 4.0 percent on the operational budget due to reduction of costs in areas like staff costs.” He added: “This, in particular was through a moratorium on recruitment, a strategy that ensures minimization of staff costs without having to resort to job cuts.”
The man who has arguably not wavered in sticking to and articulating deeply held principles of honour, decency and integrity, said SRA’s strategic aim is to achieve 100 percent compliance in the country for improved outcomes, while the medium term strategic aim “is to make compliance easier and for it to cost less.” “Achieving is more important in the prevailing climate as the operating conditions become tighter,” he said.