Growth is back, says Calle

21 February 2020 | Economics

I do not foresee any shortfalls in revenue, but also no increases. – Calle Schlettwein, Finance minister

Augetto Graig

Despite the legislative framework for public private partnerships (PPP) being in place, not a single such project is on the finance ministry books.

“Why is it we don't have a single PPP while the legislation is there? A lot of work was done, but we have no project. PPP please,” finance minister Calle Schlettwein said yesterday in his annual address to staff.

The ministry of finance did well during a difficult year in 2019, Schlettwein said.

In its 2019 overall performance review under the auspices of the office of the prime minister, the ministry of finance scored 95%. “We are among the top performers in government,” he said.

“We are beginning a new decade, a new year. Last year was not without its challenges, but also not without its promise,” Schlettwein said.

The promise comes from revised national account figures released by the Namibia ­Statistics Agency in December, which indicate gross domestic product (GDP) growth picking up from negative growth of minus 0.15% in 2016, to contracting only 0.1% in 2017, and growing marginally at 0.3% in 2018. “Growth has returned,” the minister said.

According to Schlettwein, 2016 was the worst year when steep consolidation was implemented in regards to government spending. The trend towards growth shows that “pro-growth consolidation was starting to grip. Policy measures have started to show,” he said and that “we have stabilised the macro-economics on all fronts except debt.”

Debt, tax

Debt remains a growing concern with government having started 2020 with a debt ratio of 49% which has already escalated to 52% he said.

“The issue needs to be management carefully,” he said, particularly since no growth in revenue sources is foreseen.

“I do not foresee any shortfalls in revenue, but also no increases. Taxes need to be collected more efficiently, although there are some taxes that need consideration to help get better value from our raw materials and to incentivise value addition,” he said.

“There are also those taxes we are obliged to implement as members of international organisation and as part of the global trade world,” he said. “Tax matters are global matters,” he said and that neighbouring countries in Africa appreciate Namibia's strong stance against transfer pricing and other ways in which funds are syphoned out of the country. “We joined these organisations to curb illicit outflows, trace and recover,” he said.

“Another important matter is how the tax policy must be leveraged to fight against inequality. It is one tool in our toolbox that we must use to get more taxes from the areas that have the ability to contribute without hampering their ability to make returns on investments.

“We cannot sit still and observe, year in and year out, that a significant part of our population lives in poverty while a few live in wealth that should be shared,” he said.

Namra, tenders

Schlettwein spoke of the ambitious reform programme underway at the finance ministry. He said the new Namibian Revenue Agency (Namra) will only take over tax collection once it is fully staffed.

“Tax collection cannot stop, the handover must be seamless,” he said.

The minister mentioned the Central Procurement Board, where capacity has been beefed up and exemptions used to ease early missteps brought on by capacity gaps. In this regard, “the amended act, regulations and rules are almost ready for tabling,” he said.

He encouraged Namibians to become e-filers by filing tax returns online and warned that procurement will also soon migrate to the World Wide Web. A United Nations procurement system has already been chosen to be tailored to become the domestic system he said.

 - [email protected]

Similar News


New water infrastructure at Sorris-Sorris

21 hours ago | Economics

Farmers at Plaas Rooidak in the Sorris- Sorris communal conservancy have finally received potable water infrastructure after enduring 10 years without their own water source.Conservancy...

Namibia receives 2.35 million USD worth of support

21 hours ago | Economics

China has donated Covid-19 related supplies worth 40 million Namibian dollars (2.35 million US dollars) to Namibia to assist the country in fighting the virus,...

Khorixas town council to prioritise

1 day - 08 July 2020 | Economics

The Khorixas town council plans to spend its development budget of N$13 860 000 for the 2020/21 financial year on priority areas such as servicing...

Food security crucial in a selfish world

1 day - 08 July 2020 | Economics

The world has entered an era of “every country for itself”, leaving Namibia with no choice but to pursue policies that are aimed towards food...

Africa’s battle against 'zombie' appliances

1 day - 08 July 2020 | Economics

Peyton Fleming - On Nigeria's bustling streets, stalls selling stacks of well-worn, energy-sucking refrigerators and air conditioners are known as "tokunbo", a Yoruba word that...

Wealth fund details still sketchy

3 days ago - 06 July 2020 | Economics

RONELLE RADEMEYERWINDHOEKApart from a cabinet announcement that the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund has been approved in principle, details on where money for the...

Mayana community demonstrates over land

6 days ago - 03 July 2020 | Economics

The community of Mayana in the Kavango East region held a demonstration against what they termed “illegal land grabbing” by the Mayana Small Scale Irrigation...

Virus to undo decade of progress in Africa

1 week ago - 02 July 2020 | Economics

The coronavirus pandemic could set back incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa by a decade as weak oil prices, a tourism standstill and business lockdowns shrink the...

Covid grant: ‘Govt has money’

1 week ago - 02 July 2020 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – Nearly three months after government launched the Emergency Income Grant (EIG) to help needy Namibians who lost their jobs or income due...

Households’ short-term debt more than N$10 bn in May

1 week ago - 01 July 2020 | Economics

Individuals’ bank debt for other loans and advances, which include personal loans and credit card debt, shot up to more than N$8.01 billion last month.Total...

Latest News

Namibia's airport gears for operations...

21 hours ago | Business

Namibia's flagship airport the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is ready for its restart plan as borders are going to gradually open under the provisions...

'Swapo campaign benefitted from Fishrot'

21 hours ago | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKA State witness in the ongoing bail application of former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi dropped a bombshell yesterday when...

Itula not a competitor –...

21 hours ago | Politics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEK The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement does not see the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), a mooted political party led by former presidential...

Air Namibia wants its wings...

21 hours ago | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKAir Namibia has written to the Transport Commission of Namibia, demanding to know why the national carrier's air services licence has been temporarily suspended.The...

Namibia receives 2.35 million...

21 hours ago | Economics

China has donated Covid-19 related supplies worth 40 million Namibian dollars (2.35 million US dollars) to Namibia to assist the country in fighting the virus,...

Time for Swapo to answer

21 hours ago | Opinion

Now more than ever, the ruling party Swapo has no excuse to maintain the deafening silence on allegations it has benefitted from the multi-million-dollar Fishrot...

Farmers rue lack of post-resettlement...

21 hours ago | Business

By Edward Mumbuu JnrSome resettlement beneficiaries have expressed discontent in governments post-resettlement support programme, which they suggest, derails the productivity and profitability of such farms.The...

San's existence under threat

21 hours ago | Environment

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEK The San's environment is constantly under threat, and while they were once able to sustain themselves and their way of...

Pick n Pay assault twist

21 hours ago | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK The wife of a suspect, who can clearly be seen beating a Pick n Pay employee in a video that went viral this...

Load More