The President of the Federation of the Eswatini Business Community, Tum Du Pont says distressed businesses have suffered a lot over the past two years, particularly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing political unrest in the country. Du Pont says he is grateful to the Eswatini Revenue Service for extending the debt relief programme, but appeals to them to stop digging up old figures, which cannot be proved in certain cases.

By Ntokozo Nkambule

The President of the Federation of the Swaziland Business Community (FESBC), Henry Tum Du Pont has urged members of the federation struggling with their tax payments to visit their business offices in a quest to find solutions.

Du Pont was speaking during the Eswatini Broadcasting & Information Services (EBIS) Morning Breakfast Show (Letishisako). He said it has been a tough period for businesses in the country, over the last couple of years. “It has been tough for businesses in the country, particularly, the past two and a half years, we first went through the COVID-19 pandemic where we were one of the biggest causalities, then the emergence of the political unrest, which persists to this day. For that reason it’s understandable why some businesses are behind on their tax obligations” he said.

“We urge emaSwati business people to pay us a visit, we aren’t saying that we are the messiah, but there is something we can work out, instead of losing their hard-fought businesses or even in certain cases, losing your life because of depression and frustration. Our office regularly meets with the Eswatini Revenue Services team, so maybe there is something we can come up with. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is another avenue that has assisted us before and their door remains open” he noted.

The businessman also disclosed that it was pleasing that some of their members were registering for the ERS tax debt relief programme, even though there was still a long way to go. Du Pont however, appealed to the ERS that since this was an unfavourable period for businesses, the ERS should evaluate each case individually.

He said bringing up tax cases dating back years ago would not help the current situation, as the economy has been struggling. “What is really affecting businesses is that the ERS is digging figures that date way back, which are hard to prove. We appeal to them to look at the present not the past,” he noted.

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