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MBABANE – The Swazi business community feels unfairly treated due to the short notice periods issued in relation to changes in the VAT Refund Scheme.

Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) President Andrew le Roux said cross border trade had greatly been affected as the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) and the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) tightened screws.  

The reaction was in relation to the bid to ensure compliance and minimise revenue loss on the implementation of the VAT Refund Administration scheme popularly known as Sekulula VAT Easy, where SRA in collaboration with its South African counterpart SARS, announced that they had tightened the screws by application of the law as required.

As a result, there has been a challenge in that SARS refused to honour payment of some of the claims, which were submitted by the SRA for goods, imported into the country by personal and commercial users.  The president said they had engaged SRA on the negative effects that had accrued as a result of the recent changes. He said the authority had been very supportive in addressing their grievances.

“Trucks now wait for long hours at the border if not days,” said le Roux as he narrated the gravity of the recent changes.  He said going forward; they would engage SRA and the Ministry of Finance to engage South Africa to apply the law in a manner that would have a minimal impact on local businesses especially during the festive season.

“The changes have an impact on businesses from all aspects. Small and Medium businesses will also be badly hit by the new regulations,” le Roux pointed out.  Federation of Swaziland Business Community (FESBC) President Tum Du Pont shared similar sentiments. He said it was unfortunate that they had not been extensively consulted prior to full implementation of the regulations.
“We plead for leniency as this will have serious repercussions on Swazi businesses,” said Du Pont.

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