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LRA to tighten customs rules



MASERU-FROM Friday this week the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) will impose heavy fines and penalties on vehicles breaching customs rules at the borders.
Mosuoe Mapetla, the LRA’s Head of Client Services Division, told a press conference yesterday that vehicles carrying commercial goods and arriving at the border without a ‘Proceed to Border’ notification will be fined M1 000.

Mapetla also said vehicles parking on the bridge before acquiring the ‘Proceed to Border’ and ‘Road Manifest’ documents will be fined M1 000.
Vehicles parking at the border area for more than an hour will be clamped and owners fined.
“Parking inside the border area is only for clients coming for border services,” Mapetla said.

“Trading activities are not allowed inside the controlled border area including walkway channel for pedestrians,” he said.
All these things are being implemented under the Lesotho Border Management Services (LBMS), introduced by the government earlier this year in line with requirements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The changes are meant to improve services and reduce traffic congestion at borders.
The LBMS has officials from the port of health, border police, livestock, agriculture research, road fund, department of traffic, immigration and customs.
These agencies all report to Mapetla, who is responsible for all operations at the Maseru bridge border post.
The changes include the creation of a green lane for VIPs and VVIPs, and special arrangement for informal traders.
It also includes the “dedicated drive through passport service at exit site Block D for one to two persons travelling in a light vehicle that operates between six in the morning and 10 at night”.
Another development is the increment on the tax credit.

According to Mohale Motenalapi, the LRA Client Education officer, taxable monthly income has moved from M3 025 to M4 000.
A Non-refundable Tax Credit of M9 600 per annum is allowable to all resident individuals.
He however mentioned that the tax rate and the threshold remain the same.

Staff Reporter

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