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NTAÔÇÖs VET levy to solve skills scarcity

Mon, 3 February 2014 02:29
by Timoteus Shihepo

If all goes well with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy, which will soon be implemented, many youth members will gain necessary educational skills, says Namibia Training Authority (NTA) general manager.
Mukendwa says this project will help fund company training grants, key priority funding for specific training interventions and collection and administration of the levy, which will in turn benefit the students.
“This initiative works in other countries. It is a good project because the majority of the people become employed while still studying. We would like for every student to have their own equipment kit once they leave the vocational training centres,” he asserts.
But funding the key priority projects will depend on the availability of funds, the directives and criteria approved by the NTA board. Some suggested interventions include small and medium enterprise (SME) support in areas of training for owner managers, expansion of training capacity to address scarce skill requirements, funding of apprenticeship and artisan schemes, bursaries, internships as well as demand-led training.
According to the Vet Act (Act 1 2008), the VET is payable by every employer, with an annual payroll of N$1m or more.
The levy that employers pay is allocated in such a way that up to 50% of it is allocated for company training grants; 35% is allocated for key priority funding for specific training interventions while 15% is allocated for the collection and administration of the levy.
Not all employers will pay the levy as some, including the State, regional councils, charitable and faith-based organisations, as well as public educational institutions are exempted, as per the Regional Councils Act of 1992.
The National Training Fund (NTF), which is an NTA department, is authorised by Government to act as the collection agent and employers who fail to register or pay on time may face interest and penalties that will be backdated to their commencement dates.
“There is a committee, which will make sure every company adheres to the rules. This committee will take action on non-compliance,” warns Mukendwa.
Employers will incur an additional payment penalty of 10% on outstanding amounts, including interests as stated in the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act of 1975.
“An estimate will be made of the owed amounts, including interest and penalties for employers who fail to pay the levy. The names and details of non-compliant employers will be processed for action through the Ministry of Education’s Compliance Department. Compliance inspectors with special investigative powers will visit the companies and legal action will be taken against defaulting levy payers. Defaulting employers who do not pay the levy will not be entitled to any benefits from the scheme, thereof,” Mukendwa adds.
According to NTA’s acting chief executive officer, Anna Nghipondoka, the Minister of Education has already informed employers of his intention to impose the Vet Levy, as per Section 36 of the Vet Act of 2008.
The registration process started last week and will end on 27th of this month. The levy implementation starts on 1st of April.
Submission forms are available for completion on the NTA website from where they can also be downloaded. They will also be available in hardcopy and may be obtained from the National Training Fund and submitted electronically.