Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has refuted reports that he influenced the appointment of his former central bank colleague Sam Shivute as substantive chief of the Namibia Revenue Authority (NamRA).
Shivute was yesterday unveiled as the new NamRA commissioner.
Shiimi, who was appointed finance minister in March this year following a stint as Bank of Namibia governor, yesterday denied interfering in the recruitment process of the new NamRA head. He said an independent recruitment agency handled the process to ensure fairness.
“An independent interview panel, chaired by the deputy chairperson of the NamRA board and consisting of professional and experienced individuals from different professional backgrounds, conducted the interviews,” explained Shiimi.
“As a portfolio minister, I have every confidence in the process undertaken and I accepted the recommendations and advice from the board as presented.”
Shiimi noted Shivute was unanimously rated as the top candidate among the three interviewed candidates and was recommended for appointment as commissioner.
According to him, Shivute subsequently met the security vetting requirements, paving the way for his official appointment. NamRA was established to assist the finance ministry with revenue collection as well as the enforcing of tax rules, among others. Shiimi said the revenue collection reform was taking long simply because due processes have to be followed.
He said the current Inland Revenue systems are running until the last day when NamRA takes over as the tax administration agency of the country.
Shivute, who left his lucrative banking services director position at the central bank, is not new to the business of revenue collection.
Between 2013 and 2014, Shivute was seconded to the Inland Revenue as an acting commissioner for a period not less than 18 months.
Shiimi indicated NamRA will constitute a transformation of the current department of Inland Revenue and the Directorate of Customs and Excise into a new semi-autonomous revenue agency outside the public service.
“Before day one of NamRA, which will be determined and announced to the public in advance, the NamRA Act (Act No. 12 of 2017) will not be in force – and NamRA, as an institution, does not yet exist.
Until such date, tax, customs and excise functions and the day-to-day operations will continue to be provided by the Department of Inland Revenue and the Directorate of Customs and Excise under the Ministry of Finance as it has been the case,” stated Shiimi.
On his part, Shivute said a stronger revenue service and customs administration was a fundamental cornerstone of an effective state and key enabler in the government’s ability to fund expenditure and provide for its people. “NamRA will serve efficiently with the passion to positively impact the livelihoods of every Namibian. It will serve in the best interest of all Namibians and it will carry out its mandate without fear and favour,” said Shivute, who is also a renowned motivational speaker.