The Villager Editorial: Shame, shame to the untrustworthy businessman

March 9, 2015, 6:57am

Shame, shame to the untrustworthy businessman

It is very saddening that this week the Government confirms that they have lost revenue of N$2.2 million through illicit deals at the ports of entries.

Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Ericah Shafudah confirms that the Government has seen the increase of cases involving under invoicing at ports of entry manned by the customs and excise department increasing by a worrisome 72% from 2013.

What a shame. And considering that some of these acts are orchestrated by the very same business people who canvass for tenders and projects from public money is only but a shame. Perhaps we say shame, shame, and shame on that untrustworthy business man who would do anything under the sun to make sure he does not pay where he is supposed to pay.

While it is unfortunate that Government has to deal with the issue of under invoicing be it at the ports, borders or airports what has been revealed should actually be a wakeup call. The Government through the department of customs and excise need to come up with a mechanism that tracks such malpractices.

It should be easy to pick that an individual and a business under declared whatever shipment that they brought in the country. A very good example on how government can deal with the issue is a recent rant that the Kenyan Government took to clamp down on malpractices on the borders and customs declaration areas.

The Kenyan Government instituted serious measures to make sure that those that import goods into the country will do so in a manner that is beneficial to treasury. Whether that is done and in a manner satisfactory to all is something else.

In fact as part of the raft of measures to clamp down these malpractices government should introduce severe punishments on those that are caught on the wrong side of the law.

 Government could start by blacklisting all those that are caught under invoicing from acquiring public tenders. They should make sure that anyone who does not benefit a laid out system also does not accrue benefits from the same system that they are trying to defeat.

Another way out is that government needs to invest in high tech detecting technology that makes it difficult for those with wrongful intent to succeed. Perhaps the declaration system should be made electronically. This will make it difficult for those who wish to do things out of the confines of the law to succeed.

Government could also do the noble thing to name and shame those that try to avoid set customs and excise duty at the expense of the nation. If one or two popular individuals are hanged to dry in public for practicing such defeating practices, that would communicate the relevant message and very few will have the thought of wanting to go through the humiliation.

While Government could do a lot to curb such practices the major question however comes back to the businessman who takes chances and practices such unethical manouvres. Whatever happened to integrity, ethics and working under the principle of transparency?

Perhaps not many business people who are practicing this under invoicing cannot answer this question. However under normal circumstances they should.