The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) has collected N$2.4 million worth of outstanding levies last year.
NTB has also started with collection of levies from companies registered with the board as accommodation establishments that are generating income from providing accommodation to visitors that are overnighting at these establishments, head of industry services, Bonny Mbidzo, has told The Villager.
“All registered accommodation establishments have been paying their bed night levies. However, in most circumstances they pay the levies but do not submit the levy return. Secondly the establishments pay their levies late and accumulate an interest and it is this interest and penalties which are usually not paid and creates an impression as if levies are not being paid,” Mbidzo said.
He added that levies paid into the NTB bank account without the levy return forms makes it difficult for the finance department to allocate the amount.
He said the board would not know which period the amount is being paid for, especially by establishments which are usually late with making payments.
Mbidzo further said that it is impossible to know how much is still owed to the NTB by the accommodation establishments because bed night levy is calculated after the submission of the levy return form which the establishments must return to NTB.
“The levy return form indicates how bed nights were sold during a period under review. The difficulty with these type of payments is that the establishment can under-declare that they had fewer bed nights and there is no mechanism under the current act to ascertain the truth,” he said.
He added that about 2 050 bed accommodation establishments are registered while camp sites and caravans do not pay levies.
Meanwhile, NTB has instituted legal proceedings against establishments which are not in compliance with the Act.
“For those with outstanding levy interests and penalties, we issue letters of demand and in 2017 alone we took about twelve establishments for debt recovery through our attorneys of record. Operating tourism related business without registering with NTB is a criminal offence,” Mbidzo said.
He said the NTB does not advertise on foreign television such as the BBC, CNN or Aljazeera to give the country maximum exposure because of a lack of adequate funds.