Business Eswatini’s Trade and Commerce Committee Meet to Deliberate on a Wide Range of Topical Issues

By Ntokozo Nkambule

Business Eswatini’s Trade and Commerce Committee recently met to deliberate on a number of issues that are quite topical in the country.

BE’s Senior Communications Specialist Pearl Tukamuhebwa, disclosed in a conversation with this publication that the Trade and Commerce Committee is the chamber part of the organization that looks into issues that are related to trade.

She revealed that the Trade and Commerce Committee meets quarterly to deliberate on a wide range of topical issues and comprises individuals who are members of BE. 

She further outlined the key issues that were deliberated in the meeting.

“Topical issues that were deliberated include the congestion at Oshoek Border Post, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Bill soon to be debated in parliament, the Income Tax Bill which seeks to introduce new taxes such as Capital Gains and Worldwide Tax and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program by ERS which seeks a hassle-free flow of trade between countries.”

Interestingly, the Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo earlier this week promised that the passing of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Bill is imminent and should take place in a week.

The Minister outlined the benefits that come with the Bill.

“The Bill defines and outlines incentives provided by the government strictly for MSMEs. The Bill also seeks to make it easier for MSMEs in the country to start a business, make money and become sustainable. Furthermore, the Bill has a provision for certain businesses that should be preserved for MSMEs.” 

Another key issue on the agenda was the Income Tax Bill which seeks to introduce new taxes such as Capital Gains Tax and Worldwide Tax.

Even though we are not privy to what was discussed during the meeting, BE was last year clear on its stance regarding these proposed taxes.

“The private sector is against the introduction of Capital Gains Tax (CGT), as it may lead to losses incurred in the sale of assets. CGT will also undermine the country’s investment promotion efforts Moreover, CGT is difficult to administer and if properly done CGT does not raise significant extra income for the government.”

In terms of Worldwide Tax, this is what the business organization had to say.

“We believe this country is not ready for worldwide tax/ the resident-based system. With regards to remittances and EmaSwati in the diaspora, worldwide tax may encourage tax avoidance and evasion” noted BE in its comments submitted to the Ministry of Finance and presented to the Senate Finance Portfolio Committee last year.

 The Senior Communications Specialist concluded by stating that the recommendations taken or discussed during the meeting are then presented to the BE Board.

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