We are not a tax haven: Geingob

15 Feb 2018 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 15 FEB (NAMPA) – Namibia is not a tax haven and is instead being targeted, President Hage Geingob said at State House on Thursday.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by European Union (EU) ambassadors, Geingob said he was surprised by Namibia’s listing as a tax haven.
“Where does it come from? Why didn’t we discuss this?” Geingob questioned.
Namibia was one of 17 countries named on a blacklist of tax havens by the EU in December last year.
Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein has since said the blacklisting was based on “miscommunication” as the country had missed a deadline to inform the EU of its commitment to implement proposed actions.
Geingob, without mentioning names, said there are known tax havens that do not appear on the list.
“And Namibia is a tax haven? I don’t believe it. I am not an economist but I will say it’s not true,” he said.
The President asked whether there was “vindictiveness” against Namibia.
“Is bullying still a thing in Europe? I thought we are a sovereign. Some are small, but we are equal sovereigns,” he said, adding that the days are gone when countries with financial backing controlled everything.
Agreeing with Geingob, EU ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova said it was “foolish” to categorise Namibia as a tax haven.
“It would be foolish to put Namibia on any list of tax havens,” she said, adding that she was pleased to note that Namibia has communicated with the EU’s contact group that deals with taxation.
The EU will support Namibia in its quest to be removed from the list, she said.
The ambassador, however, called on Namibia to be more transparent and accountable in order to be part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. She also expressed concern over illicit outflows of money from Africa.
“We have to join forces to make all these financial transactions as transparent and accountable as possible,” she said.
Embassies represented at the meeting include Germany, France, Spain and Finland.
Namibia was the only sub-Saharan African country named in the 17-nation list of non-EU tax havens.
The list of non-cooperative tax havens adopted by the EU includes American Samoa, Bahrain, Grenada, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama, South Korea and Tunisia.