Jeanette Chanda Makgolo has etched her name in history as the first-ever female Commissioner General of the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), a position she assumed in August 2021, securing a notable appointment for a period of five years.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Botswana and postgraduate Professional Training in Public Finance Management (Masters Equivalent) from the National Institute of Finance Management in India, Ms. Makgolo’s qualifications underscore her readiness for the role.
With over three decades of dedicated service in the public sector, Jeanette Makgolo has been a stalwart in the field of accountancy, notably contributing to the development of Botswana’s Public Procurement Bill and the enactment of significant financial legislation, including the first-ever Financial Reporting Act and the revised Botswana Institute of Accountants Act.
The Commissioner General is a seasoned public officer and a veteran accountant who has served the office of the Accountant General for over 30 years.
She helped develop Botswana’s Public Procurement Bill that is currently before Parliament, which resulted in the enactment of the first ever Financial Reporting Act that established the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA); and the revised Botswana Institute of Accountants Act that established the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) qualification. Ms. Makgolo served on various boards, including the Morupule Coal Mine Rehabilitation Trust Fund; Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants Public Sector Committee; Botswana Unified Revenue Service Board; African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board.
Ms. Makgolo’s tenure at BURS has been marked by a proactive approach to challenges. Recognizing the outcry regarding ICT systems, she swiftly addressed these concerns and, in August 2022, secured a groundbreaking 10-year deal with Authentix to implement a ‘track and trace’ system.
This innovative solution, involving the biometric imprinting of alcohol and tobacco products, is designed to crack down on tax losses, showcasing her commitment to modernizing revenue services.
Under her leadership, BURS achieved remarkable milestones, exceeding expectations by collecting P23.851 billion in the second quarter of the financial year, a significant stride towards their annual goal.
Jeanette Makgolo’s initiatives have extended beyond national borders, as she was elected to the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) Council, representing Southern Africa and contributing to the enhancement of tax administration across the continent.
In March 2022, the Service led by Jeanette Makgolo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Botswana Trade Commission (BOTC), a move aimed at strengthening their cooperative efforts of facilitating legitimate trade.
Through the MoU, BOTC will be regulating the importation and exportation of goods in Botswana while on the other hand, BURS is the competent authority in terms of the facilitation, control of importation and exportation of goods in Botswana including the prohibition of illicit trade.
The relationship will see BOTC recommend tariff changes through the SACU tariff board and SACU council and BURS implement the changes.
This proactive approach aligns with her vision to transform BURS into a modern revenue authority capable of increasing domestic revenue collection.
In recognition of her outstanding leadership, Jeanette Makgolo and BURS received two prestigious awards at the 4th Africa Public Sector Conference and Awards 2023.
The awards, “The Best Use of Technology to Revolutionize Customer Experience (CX)” and “The Public Sector Woman of the Year,” underscore her commitment to excellence, innovation, and customer-centric public service provision.
These accolades, coupled with her extensive background in the public sector, underscore Ms. Makgolo’s impact on organizational growth and the resilience of the public service.
By Ruth Esi Amfua Sekyi – Public Sector Global