Uanguta seconded to Namra

The finance ministry is finding it difficult to find a suitable candidate to head its new tax agency on a full-time basis.

01 November 2019 | Banking

Bank of Namibia (BoN) deputy governor Ebson Uanguta has been appointed to serve as the temporary CEO of the soon-to-be established Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra).

This comes as treasury found it hard to appoint a suitable full-time candidate to head the new agency, finance ministry Calle Schlettwein said this week.

The ministry had initially committed to appointing a CEO by August 2018.

An external recruitment firm had been appointed last year to assist the ministry to appoint a CEO, but even that exercise failed to yield a suitable candidate, with Schlettwein pointing out the candidates that had been shortlisted “did not cross the finish line”.

Explaining the delay, Schlettwein said government exercised caution to ensure that the preferred candidate would not to be perceived as a political appointment.

“The approach we had, we anticipated the perception that there would be political interference. We appointed an external recruitment firm. We distanced ourselves from the process to have the best shot at appointing a CEO on merit,” said Schlettwein.

“Names were shortlisted, it's true, but none of those who were shortlisted crossed the line to be fully accepted,” he added.

The entire process to appoint a new CEO would now have to be restarted, with the assistance of Uanguta and the Namra board, explained Schlettwein.

According to previous reports, three candidates had been shortlisted to head the new tax agency, including inland revenue commissioner Justus Mwafongwe, former Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) CEO Mihe Gaomab II and PwC tax leader Chantell Husselmann. Uanguta started his career at the now defunct Namibia Economic Policy Research Unit as a research assistant in 1996. In the mid-2000s, he joined the central bank as an economist and moved through the ranks to become its director of research. He then moved to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, where he served as an advisor to the executive director for the Africa Group 1 Constituency.

He returned to the country's apex bank in January 2002 to serve as deputy governor, a post he still holds. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree in economics from Addis Ababa University and a Bachelor of Economics (BEc) degree from the University of Namibia (Unam). He has also completed a senior management education programme at the University of Stellenbosch's Graduate Business School and was a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, according to his LinkedIn account. Uanguta describes himself as a central banker with more than 18 years of professional experience.

When approached for comment regarding Uanguta's absence from the central bank, it expressed no worry with Uanguta's appointed reasoning that it was only a temporary move. “Rest assured that this temporary arrangement will not, in any way, impact the operations of the bank. In the meantime, the executive leadership and staff of the bank shall continue to assist the governor in the execution of the mandate of the central bank as usual,” the bank said.


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