24 May 2018

Namibia: Revenue Not Growing Fast - Schlettwein

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein says with Namibia's revenue not growing fast and the public debt estimated to grow to 46% against the gross domestic product, the government is closely watching its expenditure.

Government has put policies in place to enhance revenue collection, he said, adding that revenue estimates for 2017/18 are roughly 2% better than the revised target in the mid-year review.

Apart from continuing to recover tax arrears, ways to improve revenue collection and compliance must be implemented timeously.

Addressing his staff members on Monday, he said as a vital achievement for the revenue management programme, the ministry will be tabling taxation proposals as announced in the budget speech, both for customs and excise, as well as domestic tax.

This is in line with the recovery of outstanding tax and a visible tax collection effort to bring all potential taxpayers within the tax net.

"Improved revenue collection is necessary to fund the budget, to avoid increased public debt uptake, and reduce the budget deficit faster than anticipated. These measures are not least important for the customs and excise department. Efficiency gains are a critical success factor for trade facilitation and gatekeeping functions, as it is through trade that economic activity is enabled.

"The enforcement and collaboration with third parties is a function which needs urgent attention," Schlettwein said.

The preliminary expenditure execution, excluding statutory expenses, stood at 99,4%, with operational expenditure amounting to 99,8%, while the development budget spending is estimated at 96%.

"Based on the preliminary national accounts numbers, our economy is estimated to have experienced negative growth of 0,8% last year. However, a moderate recovery of about 1,2% is projected this year, which will only slowly pick up to above 2% next year, and 3% a year after," the minister continued.

There are positive outcomes which should be strengthened, going forward.

"The total level of nominal GDP is about 3,3% better than the budget, which supports the fiscal ratios. Supporting economic growth objectives and the needs in the real and services sectors of the economy should be one of our primary objectives", he stated.

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