Namibia: Revenue Agency Struggles to Take Off

The finance ministry is struggling to launch the Namibia Revenue Agency this month as promised, and has now pushed the implementation date to March 2020.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein revealed the new date yesterday after the ministry missed the 1 October launch date.

"The launch will now be in March next year," the minister said, adding that the date is not far, as the process involves the migration of personnel.

At the appointment of the board of directors last year, the minister said the tax authority would be operational by March 2019, but that take-off date was pushed to October due to "many operational hurdles that remained unresolved".

These hurdles included the appointment of the management team for the agency, as well as the commissioner, who would also serve as the chief executive officer.

Sources close to the matter say the board had short-listed candidates for the commissioner's position way back in July, and submitted the list to the minister for Cabinet approval. But to date, Cabinet has not yet attended to the matter.

"We are hoping that we will get approval at the next Cabinet meeting," Schlettwein observed.

The non-appointment of a commissioner has hampered the work of the board, including the adoption of a business plan, the implementation of stakeholders' engagement, and change management processes for a smooth transition to the new institution.

In May this year, the finance ministry was looking for offices from which the agency would operate as it will act as an autonomous tax collection entity and administrator of tax, customs and excise laws, as well as deal with the efficient provision of services to taxpayers.

Schlettwein is known for swift action on matters concerning public finance, but it seems that fatigue has caught up with him on the revenue agency which has been part of his budget speeches over the years.

MID-TERM BUDGET

The minister said he will soon announce when his ministry will table the mid-term budget, but that it will still be this month.

"We are done now. I will announce this week when I will table it," he added.

In the mid-term budget, the minister pronounces the government's position on the earlier tabled tax proposals, such as the taxation of dividends, the deductibility of non-diamond mining royalties, the scrapping of manufacturing incentives and the export processing zones, as well as the increases on individual tax rates.

Email: lazarus@namibian.com.na

Twitter: @Lasarus_A

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