Swaziland to Hike Witch-Doctor Tax
December 11, 2012 Taxation in Swaziland
LOBAMBA – Swaziland is looking at witch-doctors to help raise government revenues and secure the country’s fiscal position.
In a session of the parliament of Swaziland last week a proposal was raised by Majahodvwa Khumalo, an MP for the Lobamba inkhundla, to raise the annual fees paid by the country’s traditional healers and witch-doctors.
According to Majahodvwa Khumalo, a majority of people in Swaziland choose to consult with traditional healers instead of doctors, but “…the money they [the healers] pay to government falls far too short of the money they make.”
The MP explained that the healers, known locally as sangomas, are required to pay an annual fee of SZL 10, but in the last several years they had routinely increased their service fees by as much as 400 percent without having to face any corresponding rise in their tax obligations.
Currently Swaziland is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund the conditions of a potential bailout loan, however, the government has so far been denied the financial assistance due to its unwillingness to cooperate with IMF recommendations.
According to some experts, any money raised from an increase to the songamas’ fees will be used to supplement the budget and demonstrate to the IMF the government’s willingness to implement necessary tax changes and hike taxes if required.
Photo by whl.travel