Andrew Kathindi

The Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) has accused the Ministry of Finance of being secretive and failing to consult in the establishment of the Namibia Revenue Agency’s (NamRA) HR structures, amid concern the agency could become a gravy train for top management.

According to the union, the agency is trying to create a management structure where a select few will benefit from bloated benefits, not in line with existing government pay structures, defeating its intended purpose.

In a letter to the Finance Ministry Executive Director, Erica Shafudah, which is in the possession of Windhoek Observer, the public workers union accused the revenue collection agency of also unilaterally restructuring Finance ministry staff without proper consultation.

“The structure being suggested for NamRa in the absence of its HR policy, (which if in place, has not yet been disclosed to NAPWU) is perfect proof of a scheming structure aimed at creating a paradise of high remuneration at no value and without the desired efficiency being achieved,” wrote NAPWU Secretary-General, Petrus Nevonga.

According to NAPWU, the proposed staff structure for NamRa does not indicate the number of people in each job categories. “NAPWU further demands that the ongoing groups by those sharing a common purpose to scheme themselves into the management position, must cease forthwith and that the Task Force engage all affected staff members openly,” the union SG warned.

Nevonga said plans to make the agency autonomous, with its own offices, would only achieve high unnecessary rental cost, running into tens of millions per month in rental fees.

NamRa, according to Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, will transform the current Department of Inland Revenue (IRD) and the Directorate of Customs and Excise into a new semi-autonomous revenue agency, outside the normal public service system, once the NamRa Act has been established.

Shiimi, during the inauguration of the Commissioner, Sam Shivute, last year, said details were still being ironed out whether the tax collection agency, once in operation, will serve directly under the Finance ministry or function as a state-owned enterprise (SOE).

NAPWU, which has previously written to the Finance ministry, raising concerns over the establishment of the collection agency, further took issue with the ministry for “lying” to its employees about consultations with the union.

Shivute when contacted over NAPWU’s allegations and concerns, referred all questions over the matter to the Finance ED.

When quizzed over the matter, a statement from spokesperson of the ministry, Tonateni Shidhudhu, read, “We have an open line of communication with the union (NAPWU) and the NamRA Commissioner was tasked by the Minister to brief the union on a regular basis and many of these issues will be communicated to NAPWU and the concerned Staff members.”