S. Africa makes further step to stabilize revenue agency

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-15 04:12:13|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAPE TOWN, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- President Cyril Ramaphosa has received the final report on recommendations to stabilize the troubled South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Presidency said on Friday.

This was seen as a step forward in stabilizing SARS at a time when efficient revenue collection and tax justice is vital to economic recovery in the country.

"The President is studying the report and will apply his mind to its detailed recommendations," presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The report was submitted by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into governance of the revenue service and tax administration.

The submission of the commission's final report followed the submission of an interim report to the president in October 2018.

The president appointed the commission, led by retired Justice Robert Nugent, in May 2018 following Ramaphosa's announcement in his 2018 State of the Nation Address that he would take steps to stabilize SARS, restore the credibility of the institution and strengthen its capacity to meet revenue targets.

The terms of reference for the commission cover, among others, the adequacy and legality of steps that SARS took to address revenue shortfalls in the last two years, including allegations of unauthorized payment of bonuses to top executives and withholding of refunds owed to ordinary tax payers.

Ramaphosa dismissed Tom Moyane as SARS Commissioner in November following a recommendation by the commission. Since then, South Africa has been without a chief tax collector.

Moyane is blamed for significant tax undercollection during his tenure. Tax revenue was projected to fall short of the 2017 budget estimate by 50.8 billion rand (about 3.5 billion U.S. dollars) for that fiscal year. This was the largest undercollection since the 2009 recession.

Earlier this year, Moyane approached the North Gauteng High Court, seeking an order to have his dimissal set aside.

Last week, the court upheld the president's dismissal of Moyane, saying the national interest far outweighed that of Moyane's interest, hence the dismissal to lift the status quo.