The Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it will be of economic benefit if the Finance Ministry waives the penalties and interest owed by the business sector.
The chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Charity Mwiya made the suggestion during an Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS)training organised for Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA)in Windhoek last week.
The CEOadvocated that the waiver should, in particular, apply to smaller businesses who should only pay for the amounts owed.
“We know that things are very tough for our businesses, so why don’t we try to be lenient on some of the stuff like tax debts that they owe. At least forgive their sins on penalties and interest, let them pay for the actual sin (amount owed) and not actually multiply on the sin,” Charity pleaded.
She indicated that the Chamber has always called for tax compliance however, leniency on the past associated penalties and interest can be waived and the entrepreneurs to pay only the actual tax debts.
She expressed appreciation to the government for listening to some of the private sector’s proposals such as extending the relief programme, and for some of the tax amendments announced.
Mwiyaadded that the business community also needs to play its part in terms of compliance.
She reminded the participants of the importance of MSMEs, and the current structure of the Namibian economy which is dominated by small companies- contributing more to employment creation and rendering services to the country’s populace.
Thus, she said, MSMEs deserve special attention, especially what they have gone through during the pandemic and the struggles they face as the economy recovers.
With the ITAS training being oversubscribed, the CEO highlighted that this is proof to NamRa that more awareness and training need to be done to ensure all economic agents regardless of their size know what needs to be done for them to comply.
Mwiya indicated that continuous training and capacity building on tax matters is necessary because tax issues were some of the challenges raised by various MSMEs when they were engaged by the Chamber.
She said there has always been an issue of tax obligation awareness and applauded NamRa for their vigorous outreach to various sectors and regions.
She added that the tax issue is just not about what is owed but also on how the tax regime can be made less costly to entrepreneurs.
Mwiya explained the MSMEs havesome concerns with the online system, like the administrative cost involved, cyber security and online exposure- thus the Chamber engaged NamRa for a training session for MSMEs to have an understanding of the online system.
She is of the opinion that the training will assist MSMEs to comply with their tax obligations which is a win-win for the government and the entrepreneurs- as the training reduces the administrative burden on NamRa and businesses pay their taxes for public investment.
She also indicated that the training is part of the series of training for the MSMEs sectorthat the Chamber will undertake for the year, and she expressed appreciation that NamRa came on board.
In future, she said, it will be of an hounour for the Chamber to stand up and advocate on behalf of MMEs who are tax compliant.
Mwiya said this year, which President Hage Geingob has dubbed as The Year of Revival.should also include MSMEs revival and development.
Speaking at the same training session, NamRa Manager for Tax Systems and Customer Services, Sirrka Masilo announced the improved amnesty coming April 2023.
“We have an improved amnesty programme that will be implemented from the first of April 2023 till August 2024,” she announced.
The improved amnesty will waive 100% of the penalties and interests. She said all what the taxpayer has to do is to register their account on ITAS and file their return online then pay their tax capital owed.The system then will waive all other tax sins (penalties and interest) added for non-compliance, regardless of what one’s own.
Masilo urged taxpayers to take up the opportunity.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org