Sixteen months since its inception, the Namibia Revenue Agency’s major highlight has been surpassing the revenue target for the first financial year by N$3.5 billion. The revenue is for the period April 2021 to July 2022.
NamRA’s Chief of Strategic Communications and Support Engagements, Steven Ndorokaze says that the recruitment process, which involves absorbing the staff seconded from the Ministry of Finance has gained significant momentum and has added to the agency’s revenue target.
“Lot of work was also done to ensure that our systems are compatible with demands of the time, while assessing the various processes to introduce efficiency. There have been targeted initiatives to enhance brand visibility and the reception of the brand has been great,” says Ndorokaze.
NamRA has come up with new ways of doing things including the inaugural Taxpayer/Trader Appreciation Day, which Ndorokaze says was very successful on many levels.
“Most of the targeted stakeholders attended and we have since received overwhelming feedback. Importantly, the message around the relevant tax obligation seems to have landed well and we must now sustain it with our various stakeholders’ engagements and taxpayer/trader education sessions.”
He says the intention is to have the event held annually on 7 April, which coincides with the launch of NamRA.
“The primary objective is to celebrate complying with taxpayers and traders, which we expect will encourage other taxpayers and traders to follow suit. We are also confident that it will encourage voluntary compliance among our taxpayers and will attract more traders to our Authorized Economic Operators Programme.”
Ndorokaze says taxpayers want to be appreciated and indeed they deserve appreciation because of the significant contribution they are making towards the development of the country.
NamRA has absorbed the functions previously performed by the Department of Inland Revenue and the Directorate of Customs and Excise.
This has led NamRA to launch the Container Control Programme at the Port of Walvis Bay last year, as a way to enhance control on goods entering the country and also benefit from the shared intelligence on the content of the consignments. NamRA has further launched the Advance Rulings System aimed at enhancing legitimate trade by providing certainty in respect of goods to be imported or exported, relating to valuation, classification and origin.
Ndorokaze explains that the introduction of the Dedicated Service Centre and robust stakeholder engagement initiatives are also some notable achievements that NamRA has made. The agency is currently reorganising its Call Centre, to serve as an effective service point. The first dedicated service centre is expected to open in Windhoek this month, a concept that will be replicated across the country. The centre will serve as a one-stop-shop for all NamRA related services, whether tax, customs or excise matters.
The agency intends to focus on enhancing compliance and enforcement. As a start, the Compliance and Enforcement Strategy was approved early this year, which will guide the compliance and enforcement initiatives.
NamRA training has been offered in several areas such as client service, coupled with dedicated training in specific areas related to tax, customs and excise.
“We are currently seized with the recruitment process and most of the activities related to organizational culture will be increased as the recruitment intensifies. However, we are seeing a positive attitude and different ways of doing things especially among the staff members who have been fully absorbed by NamRA.”
Ndorokaze says there are some perceptions that NamRA is keeping a blind eye on certain businesses or nationals in terms of tax compliance and legitimate trade.
“This is not true because we do not target a certain group of taxpayers or traders when we are carrying out work. We treat everyone the same and in line with the laws administered by NamRA. Furthermore, we do not want to see any businesses collapsing because of tax issues and we therefore encourage those who are finding it hard to meet their tax obligations to approach our offices for arrangements.”