Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has welcomed a decision by the European Union to delist Namibia as one of the countries regarded as tax havens due to lax practices and regulations on tax governance.
Namibia was removed from the list after successfully implementing reforms to bring the country’s tax systems up to the required EU standard.
Shiimi at the weekend told New Era Namibia has worked hard to be removed from the EU’s blacklist of 17 countries classified as tax havens. Namibia, blacklisted by the EU trading bloc in December last year for tax regulations and practices not deemed to be in line with EU standards, was one of six countries that remained on the blacklist and was the only sub-Saharan African country to be listed.
“Namibia worked hard to meet the requirements set by the EU, such as joining the global forum that promotes tax transparency as well as making amendments to the Income Tax Act to remove certain tax incentives. It is a good development for Namibia to be removed from the EU tax haven list as it may encourage more investment into Namibia,” Shiimi said.
To comply with EU requests, Namibia did away with preferential treatment for manufacturers by repealing the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Act as well as tax incentives for manufacturers.
The EPZ policy, which mainly benefitted the extractive industry, was viewed as a major reason Namibia was losing potential tax revenue.
Local economist Mally Likukela said Namibia’s removal from the blacklist augurs well with ambitions to become attractive to investors.
“This development allays fears concerning the security of investors and instils confidence in the tax regime. Namibia can therefore capitalise on this and safeguard the attained conducive investment environment,” said Likukela.
The countries that remain on the EU’s tax haven blacklist are Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the three US territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.