Namibia: Narrow Majority Favours Higher Taxes in Exchange for More Government Services

A slim majority (51%) of Namibians favour paying higher taxes if it will mean more government services while almost four in 10 (38%) would prefer lower taxes even if it means fewer government services.

This is according to the latest Afrobarometer survey, which also shows that citizens who actually pay income taxes are less supportive of higher taxes than those who don't pay income taxes. Responses to a series of survey questions on taxation show that only about one-third of Namibians are unhappy about tax rates, but at the same time, few citizens find it easy to get information about required taxes and fees.

The majority respondents do not want the government to emphasize tax collection among small traders and informal businesses but they consider it fair to tax the wealthy to help the poor. In general, the perception is that the government uses tax revenues to benefit the population.

The survey also indicated more Namibians think ordinary people are taxed too much (36%) and rich people are taxed too little (32%) than think the reverse (12% and 17%, respectively).

Furthermore, only three out of 10 Namibians (31%) want the government to make sure that small traders and other people working in the informal sector pay taxes on their businesses. At the same time, a majority (59%) "agree" or "strongly agree" that it is fair to tax rich people at higher rates than ordinary people to help pay for government programmes to benefit the poor. A similar majority (54%) believes that the government usually uses the taxes it collects for the well-being of the population.

The Afrobarometer team in Namibia, led by Survey Warehouse, interviewed 1200 adult Namibians in August 2019.

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