Mauritius Revenue Authority consolidates departments with SAP Tax & Revenue solution
The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), a newly constituted government agency tasked with consolidating five revenue departments and streamlining its activities, will use the tax and revenue module of the SAP Public Service software application to integrate all its data collection and data management functions.
The MRA is responsible for the administration of tax policy as well as the collection and accounting of all revenues arising under Mauritian revenue laws - with a particular focus on improving compliance and taxpayer services, raising revenues, improving the efficiency of tax administration, facilitating trade, and eliminating corruption and tax avoidance.
Key strategies geared to achieving these objectives include having integrated IT systems and the ability to segment taxpayers, simplify processes, and strengthen audit capabilities.
"We felt that an appropriate IT solution would be the most effective way of enabling our strategies and so we looked for a commercial off-the-shelf application based on best practice," says MRA director of information systems, Atma Beeharry. "An off-the-shelf solution would also help us eliminate the problems of legacy systems - including dwindling availability of skills, lack of modern functionality, and the cost and complexity of integration.
"We chose the SAP option from a shortlist of three because the software has been tried and tested by other governments and, in a demonstration using a stringent script we had devised, the SAP consortium proved that it could meet the specific requirements of our particular agency. It was also clear that SAP's change management partner, Satium, would be instrumental in helping our staff adjust not only to the new system but also to the new ways of doing things that it would introduce."
The SAP Tax and Revenue Management (SAP T&R) module will be implemented during the next 12 months by SAP Africa, responsible for the software and quality assurance, Satium, an Indian-based company responsible for change management and vertical functionality, and State Informatics Limited (SIL), a local Mauritian company that will lead the project.
"One of our priorities in the tender process was to have local support here in Mauritius, both during the project and after go-live," Beeharry says. "SIL has worked with all the revenue departments during the past several years, helping to upgrade and integrate their legacy systems, so it has the necessary domain experience as well as being familiar with our systems and procedures. That, together with the fact that they work with best-of-breed products like SAP, gives us assurance regarding the sustainability of the solution."
John Dekker, managing director of SAP Africa region, says that while the SAP T&R application dovetails well with the MRA's immediate needs, "in the long-term it will give the MRA additional comfort and capability in terms of inherently addressing the challenges that are typical to the financial divisions of public sector organisations.
"It will, for instance, shorten the time needed to assess returns, provide the flexibility needed to quickly implement new laws and policies, curtail revenue leakage, identify and access un-captured revenue, and massively improve service to the taxpayer base," says Dekker.
Atma Narasiah, acting general manager of SIL, believes that the competence of the various partners in the SAP consortium working on the MRA project will set a benchmark in the Africa region for public service IT implementations in general and tax and revenue systems in particular. "SAP has been active and successful in Africa for a long time, as have we - and Satium's SAP practice experience, globally, cannot be faulted. The MRA's objectives are similar to those of many administrations in the Africa region. So this project will show what can be achieved, affordably, in terms of transforming the government economics of this region, if you have the right IT partners working with your administration."