WINDHOEK – The much-awaited operationalisation of the Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra) continued to gain momentum yesterday. With the announcement of its Board of Directors before the semi-autonomous agency, it is scheduled to commence at the beginning of March 2019. Namra was established at the end of 2017 with the promulgation of the Namibia Revenue Agency Act after Cabinet approval in 2013, and will replace the current Inland Revenue Department in the Ministry of Finance.
The Namra board will be chaired by Anna Nakale-Kawana, and it comprised of Stefan Hugo (deputy chairperson), Shirene Bampton, Melanie Tjijenda, and Adv Dennis Khama. They will be joined by Erica Shafudah, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.
In addition to their numerous duties, the newly appointed board has also been tasked to oversee the appointment of the Namra Commissioner by January 2019. At yesterday’s board announcement, Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, confirmed that applicants for the position of Commissioner have been short-listed out of more than 100 total applications received.
Taxes in Namibia have consistently been a main revenue source for government, and in 2017, they have accounted for over 57 percent of total government revenue of N$58,5 billion.
Namibia officially collects about 30 percent of GDP from taxes; but, if Southern African Customs Union receipts are excluded, then this figure drops to approximately 21 percent. This is significantly higher than the African average of 17 percent.
Yesterday, Schlettwein emphasised that government’s policy function remains with the Ministry of Finance (tax policy, customs and excise policy, research and economic appraisal of tax, and customs and excise policy).
The new and founding Namra board will assist the minister in ensuring that the performance of the agency is optimal through monitoring and enforcement of performance targets, as well as adherence to corporate ethics.
The agency’s operations will be funded through government budget appropriations, based on costed and prioritised programmes. The annual report, with audited financial statements, is to be annually tabled in parliament. In exercising its operational autonomy, the agency will adopt its own internal policies, separate from those of the public service–in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. This includes, among others, financial, IT, procurement, risk management, and human resources policies to enable the agency to attract and retain critical skills.