Govt on zula spree

The dire state of the government's coffers has been revealed by ongoing consultations about a 2% one-off contribution from people's salaries.

23 May 2019 | Economics

The government will soon ask public office bearers and civil servants to pay a voluntary tax that will be used to fund drought relief and support entrepreneurial activities.

The executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashindi, has written a letter requesting a meeting with unionists to explain the request.

“As you may be aware, the country is faced with a number of challenges, among them the drought situation which resulted in declaration of a state of emergency by the president, thus requiring all stakeholders to play an active role in coming up with [a] solution to this challenge,” Nashindi wrote.

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) were encouraged to invite their affiliate unions to discuss the proposed tax.

“Since this proposal is affecting all Namibians, the National Union of Namibian Workers is invited to bring other affiliate unions to this meeting to discuss the proposal which has been supported by cabinet for a one-off 2% voluntary contribution from the monthly basic salaries of all Namibians, including public office bearers,” Nashindi said.





He assured the unions that the money would be used for the intended purposes.

“The proceeds of this initiative will be ring-fenced and directed to address the plight facing our people due to the drought, and also to fund youth skills and entrepreneurship programmes,” he said.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Office of the Prime Minister spokesperson Saima Shaanika confirmed the letter, saying that it was an internal memo sent to ministerial staff.

“President Hage Geingob has spoken about a 2% voluntary contribution in his State of the Nation address and that should be able to give you more clarity,” she said.

Unionist Job Muniaro said he would comment after the planned meeting.

“I am going to listen to what the prime minister is going to say regarding the voluntary deductions. We have a meeting [scheduled] for this Friday where we will ask the minister what the new tax will contain,” he said briefly.

Academic Dr Omo Kakujaha-Matundu said it would be better to not tax citizens at all.

“Economics teaches us that it is better to leave the money in consumers' pockets in tough economic times. Consumers are much more efficient at spending funds in an economic downturn. The best advice is to leave the money in consumers' pockets,” he said.

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