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Namibia's Budget Sees Increase In Tax Revenue

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

26 February 2014

During her speech introducing the 2014/15 Budget, Namibia's Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila produced no major surprises but did set up an increase of 20 percent in tax revenue, in an effort to narrow the country's fiscal deficit.

Revenue is forecast to increase to NAD52.47bn (USD4.8bn) in the year to March 31, 2015, after collecting an expected NAD43.87bn in 2013/14. The fiscal deficit is thereby projected to fall to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with a budgeted 6.4 percent in the current fiscal year, and is planned to be cut further to 3.5 percent of GDP over the next three years.

However, the Government recognizes that, while the domestic revenue stream will contribute significantly to expected revenue, a significant risk to Namibia's fiscal outlook derives from uncertainty regarding future revenues, due to on-going reforms, to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. Its share of SACU revenue for 2014/15 is estimated at almost 35 percent of the Government's total revenue.

While confirming the planned reduction in the non-mining corporate tax rate from 33 percent to 32 percent, and leaving the tax rates unchanged at 37.5 percent and 55 percent for non-diamond mining companies and diamond miners respectively, the 2014/15 Budget presaged the introduction of export taxes to promote domestic value-addition in the primary commodity and natural resources sectors, and the introduction of the first phase of environmental taxes encompassing the carbon dioxide emission tax on motor vehicles, incandescent light bulbs and motor vehicle tires, in an effort to broaden Namibia's tax base.

As in previous years, the Minister also announced that excise duty rates (sin taxes) will be reviewed in line with the provisions of the SACU Agreement and indicated that the introduction of a capital gains tax will be investigated, while a new presumptive tax regime for small businesses is being studied.

To achieve gains in tax administration, the Government has taken a decision to establish a semi-autonomous Revenue Agency, and the Minister has commissioned a task team to steer the transitional process over the next 36 months.

TAGS: environment | Finance | tax | small business | economics | business | mining | export duty | budget | corporation tax | environmental tax | excise duty | tax authority | tax rates | Namibia | revenue statistics | Africa

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