21 Apr 2015 08:30am
ONGWEDIVA, 21 APR (NAMPA) The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector has increasingly become a booming area of the Namibian economy, and provides employment opportunities and income-generation.
The coordinator of the Small Business Development Centre at the University of Namibia (UNAM) at Oshakati, Nathaniel Haukongo said this while addressing the 201520/16 National Budget review dinner held at Ongwediva on Friday.
The dinner was attended by members of the northern business community and Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein.
Haukongo noted that the SME sector provides employment and income to close to 160 000 people, which is approximately one-third of the Namibian workforce.
He said it is estimated that the small business sector also provides full-time employment for upwards of 60 000 people, ranking it alongside the government as the countrys principal employer.
According to Haukongo, the Namibian economy gives the private sector an opportunity to trade without Government intervention, as long as businesses respect the laws of the country.
He used the same platform to ask the Finance Minister to look into the possibility of amnesty with regards to tax accounts.
Haukongo also asked that the Ministry of Finance intensify tax education for the SME sector and individuals alike.
Some businesses are not in good standing with the Receiver (of revenue) largely because they do not understand their tax obligations because of a lack of tax education. As such, they resort to registering numerous close corporations in order to access good standing, he explained.
The UNAM Small Business Development Centre, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and Finance Ministry have for the past two years been engaged in the training of out-of-school youth in bookkeeping and tax-related topics so that they can start bookkeeping businesses to support the SME sector.
This pilot project has paid dividends, and it is important that we expand this project to include tax education for the SMEs while continuing to support out-of-school youth, Haukongo said.
A number of business personalities from the northern regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and part of the Kunene Region attended Fridays National Budget review gathering at Ongwediva.