Don’t tax low-income earners – Shiweda

Martin Endjala

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Anna Shiweda last week suggested that tax deductions for low income earners should be abolished as a means of uplifting their living standards.

Shiweda, in her reaction to the Appropriation Bill, which is currently under debate in the National Assembly said that she was concerned with the tax deduction of low-income earners, lamenting that this is creating further conundrums in the fight of uplifting their living standards.

She said that given the hardships that low-income earners already face, their tax deductions must be totally abolished to empower them in order for them to survive in these dire times of the economy.

She further highlighted that the increase in alcohol prices is also one aspect she noticed government continues to do every financial year budget, with the intention to discourage people from abusing alcohol.

She said that in so doing so, it will only drive low-income earners in using large portions of their income to purchase alcohol, another issue she foresees posing great danger to the economy and income of those already struggling.

In addition to this, some low-income earners could also start consuming other beverages such as Otombo and Ombike, which in her opinion could lead to serious health conditions.

On these merits, she foresees difficulties in striking a balance between benefit and income, thus calling on the government to seriously look into these concerns, particularly the tax deduction for low-income earners.

She further pointed out that the social grant increment for vulnerable people is the first line of defence in fighting poverty eradication in the country, given the economic hardship Namibia is currently going through.

According to Shiweda, the $100 increase of 7.7 percent to the already existing monthly grant makes a difference although it may appear to be too little.

She said that the increment will go a long way in assisting vulnerable persons, while adamantly asserting that if the government had more revenue collected, the grant increment could have been more.

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