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Leribe English Medium wins tax debate



Lemohang Rakotsoane



LERIBE English Medium school scooped M55 000 after winning the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) tax debate last Thursday.

St. Joseph’s High School from Maseru came second winner and walked away M35 000 richer while the third position was taken by Berea district’s Methodist High School which got M25 000.

At least 168 schools and 504 students participated in the debate with the theme: This house believes that taxation should be introduced in the school curriculum.

The competition was meant to instil in students a culture of paying tax from a young age.

Speaking at the event, the acting Commissioner General Realeboha Mathaba said it is through taxes that governments all over the world are able to provide for their citizens.

Mathaba said it is critical for the LRA to start such debates concerning tax at high school level.

“The LRA as a body entrusted with huge responsibility of collecting tax revenue on behalf of the government found it befitting to expand its tax education drive to reach our young lads. We chose this route having noticed how difficult cultural change could be,” Mathaba said.

“A large segment of the population lacks critical knowledge of Lesotho’s tax system which results in a very low compliance,” he said.

“These are our future workforce and business gurus of tomorrow. They need to be in good standing in as far as tax is concerned.”

He further said the initiative also seeks to give students an understanding of what the LRA is all about and how it conducts its business.

“There was no better way to do this than opening a dialogue through debate so that issues get to be thoroughly discussed and understood,” Mathaba said.

This is the seventh year since the initiative was established and “it is therefore befitting to sit down and introspect”.

“It has been a seven year journey without a pause. I guess it is time now that we take a deliberate step back to see how well we have travelled,” he said.

“Evaluation is very critical as it provides an opportunity to assess and identify areas that need improvement.”

Speaking at the same event Commissioner of Domestic Taxes, Thabo Moleko, said in 2010 when the LRA and the Ministry of Education launched the partnership, “none of us planned it to last this long, but here we are once again celebrating the outcomes of the same partnership”.

“After successfully piloting the competition in four districts in its inaugural year, the competition has been opened to every district. From there on the competition has grown from strength to strength,” Moleko said.

“As the Authority, our ultimate goal is to see taxation as part of the school curriculum in all levels and I believe today’s reflections have given us enough to start discussions around this (subject),” he said.

Moleko said the LRA is “passionate about improving the skills and knowledge of these future leaders and taxpayers”.

The Minister of Education Mahali Phamotse said “it is possible to achieve anything as long as we put our minds on it”.

The winner of the best speaker award, Molemo Moremi, from Likuena High School in Mohale’s Hoek said her victory was as a result of team effort.

DSC_0372“I did not get here by myself. It was through the guidance of God with the help of my teachers, coaches and fellow students,” Moremi said.

“To those who did not do well there is a perfect time for everything therefore do not lose hope. Go back and work hard and someday it will be your day,” she said.

The top three debaters were awarded a full day career and educational tour at the University of Pretoria with accommodation paid for, a living allowance, touring expenses paid for and an LRA embodied trophy.




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