The International Monetary Fund (IMF), as part of its technical assistance to Namibia, is helping the newly established Namibia Revenue Agency (NAMRA) to come up with a viable business plan, technical advisor to the Minister of Finance, Penda Ithindi, revealed this week.
NAMRA will become operational in March, replacing the Inland Revenue Department in the ministry of finance.
It will operate as a semi-autonomous body.
The primary mandate of NAMRA will be to assess and collect taxes and duties on behalf of the state using modern methods and administer tax, customs and excise laws.
“The current engagements are on the proposals for the formulation of the business strategy for NAMRA. As with any business strategy, the emphasis on NAMRA business strategy will be strategic objectives, strategic goals and targets to be reached in line with the mandate of the institution, including the revenue collection targets over the medium term,” Ithindi told the Windhoek Observer.
This comes after the Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, revealed the composition of the NAMRA board, whose first task is to recruit the NAMRA commissioner.
The board is made up of Anna Nakale-Kawana as chairperson, Stefan Hugo as deputy chairperson, Shirene Brampton, Melanie Tjijenda and Dennis Khama.
Schlettwein said the board has a January 2019 deadline to appoint a Commissioner.
The minister told board members that their main task will be tax collection and must leave issues of tax policy to the government.
“You can advise, but that is not your main task. The recruitment of key senior staff is another task,” Schlettwein said, adding the board must ensure it happens quickly.
He said NAMRA will start on a clean slate in terms of staff composition, saying that former staff members of Inland Revenue who did not meet the requirements will be returned to the finance ministry and not transferred to NAMRA.
Schlettwein said a report on the skills audit of Inland Revenue staff will be given to the board to determine the workers with the necessary skills to be retained by the agency.
“NAMRA will be as good as its staff. A new institution can never be an old institution with better salaries,” he said.
Schlettwein said Inland Revenue has performed fairly well despite the fact that Namibia is the last country in southern Africa to set up a semi-autonomous revenue body.
“Cracks have appeared of late. But we have reached a point of no return; we need to reform the system.”
The Namibian newspaper reported in July that a report into Namibia's biggest money laundering and tax evasion scheme found that companies accused of fraud shipped more than N$4,3 billion out of the country over three years.
This was among the findings contained in a 21 June 2018 draft report compiled by KPMG Namibia, which was submitted to the government early this year.