Windhoek- The Namibian government has said it will not grant tax breaks to companies or individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is instead looking at ways of striking a balance between public sector salaries and revenues.
President Hage Geingob told the media this week that there had been deliberations on the possibility of pay cuts and discussions were ongoing.
The Namibian leader said the private sector must also implement austerity measures for the sake of the national economy.
“We have spoken about and to date we have saved more than N$6 million from cutting politicians allowances. I already contribute 35 percent of my salary to assist in the fight against poverty. It can not only be politicians ... everyone else must be willing to also do the same in the country as the challenges face everyone,” he said.
President Geingob said his administration was exploring all avenues to save resources and stimulate the economy at the same time.
Projections are that the country’s economy could shrink by seven percent this year due to depressed output occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi said under the circumstances, the country could not afford tax holidays.
"In normal circumstances, one does not pay tax without an income, do they? At the moment we believe we have offered enough options to help those struggling business and the commercial banks have also offered repayment holidays," Minister Shiimi said.
He said the government was working on alternatives that would stimulate growth and not compromise revenue streams.
Minister Shiimi said the state had already unveiled other incentives and grants, in addition to providing guarantees to financial institutions that supported companies and individuals during the pandemic.
“The commercial banks have been very helpful with their repayment holidays and also offering struggling companies loans backed by the government guarantees. We believe for not tax breaks are, not an option but we should be focusing on improving economy performances,” Minister Shiimi said.