KPMG Namibia presents highlights of the 2017 budget review luncheon
KPMG, together with its partners Prime Focus and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (“NCCI”), held the annual Budget Review Luncheon, subsequent to the tabling of the 2017/2018 national budget on 8 March 2017.
The Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, stated during his address, that the budget is aimed at fostering efficiency and achieving growth. He highlighted that the budget manifests this aim by planning to reduce operational and capital expenditure that is not productive. “You cannot think about growing the economy, when your most important enabler is slipping out of your hands. If you accept that macroeconomic stability is your most important enabler, then you cannot spend more than you have” he stated.
In addressing corruption and accountability, the Minister emphasised that “This economy is ours, if we steal from it, we steal from each other. If we contribute to it, we can make it better.”
Robert Grant, the Senior Partner at KPMG, in agreement with the Minister, stressed that it was every Namibian’s responsibility not to entertain or contribute to wasteful expenditure.
In response to the national budget’s tax proposals, Mr Grant emphasised that an improved tax administration may assist the government in widening its tax net. He informed guests that tax compliance is currently expensive and it is burdensome on taxpayers to file the necessary returns. It was his view that should the filing of tax returns become simpler, as is proposed through the introduction of presumptive taxes on small entities; more focus could be placed by the taxpayers on growing the economy.
He further applauded the government for the ongoing tax reprieve in its effort to resolve historical outstanding tax balances and improve the collection of taxes. He urged taxpayers not to wait until the last minute to take advantage of the reprieve.
Sven Thieme, the President of the NCCI, agreed with most of the panellists in that the public sector needed to be effective and efficient and emphasised the need to broaden the tax net. “This needs to be in place in order for us to build on and grow our businesses” he added. In stabilising the economy, he stated, the key factors are increasing investments; reducing inequality and poverty eradication.
Namene Kalili, the Senior Manager of Research and Development at FNB Namibia Holdings, highlighted that the focus should be more on what we are good at. He noted the focus of the budget was on spending less and concentrating more on areas such as education, which would be beneficial for the nation in the long run.
Kelly Nghixulifwa, who represented the construction industry on the panel, urged the government to involve the private sector in the economy stating that initiatives such as Public – Private Partnerships would assist the government in overcoming the recession.
The panel discussion can be viewed here: Highlights of Budget Review Luncheon
Download the 2017 Tax Card