Chamber of commerce calls on government to widen tax base
The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) called on the government to widen the tax base to include businesses that are avoiding paying tax by hiding their correct income.
According to the NCCI there a number of businesses, mostly foreign owned that do not provide tax receipts, with some refusing electronic bank transfers which often create a suspicions trail.
The Chamber feels that the government is struggling to increase tax revenue because the tax base is not wide enough. NCCI added that the government appears to be quick to punish tax payers who fail to pay on time while turning a blind eye to some foreign businesses who do not pay taxes at all.
“We have also noted that there are a number of foreign owned businesses which still do not bank their income in local banks and appear to prefer keeping cash. We suspect that such businesses behave in that manner because they have something to hide to the Namibian Government,” NCCI Chief Executive Officer, Tarah Shaanika said.
Shaanika added that these suspicions have been reported to the government on numerous occasions, however not much is being done to investigate such businesses and confirm or disprove the Chamber’s suspicions.
“Many businesses face bankruptcy due to prolonged delay in payment for services delivered to the Government as well as tax arrears which if demanded to be paid in full, will threaten their continued existence. Yet, we have foreign businesses getting away with non-compliance to tax. We have serious doubts about the effectiveness of the tax amnesty announced by the Ministry of Finance as an appropriate tool to increase tax collections,” Shaanika said.
Shaanika said that this amnesty was introduced at a wrong time, when most businesses are struggling and their capacity to pay tax arrears has weakened significantly.
“We doubt that the second amnesty will do the trick in collecting more revenue, considering the economic hardships which define the business environment in Namibia at the moment. The Government must rather consider widening the tax base, hunt down those businesses which hide income to avoid tax and give adequate support to local businesses to grow,” he added.