Swanu supports introduction of Environment Tax

26 Feb 2014 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 26 FEB (NAMPA) – The Swanu of Namibia party says it will, with the same vigour and tenacity the party fights for the rights of vulnerable groups in society, support the Minister of Finance’s intent to introduce Environment Tax.
Whilst tabling the 2014/15 National Budget in Parliament last week, finance minister Saara Kuungongelwa-Amadhila announced that the first phase of the environmental tax is ready for implementation, and will encompass the carbon dioxide emission tax on motor vehicles, incandescent light bulbs and motor-vehicle tyres.
Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua welcomed the idea in Parliament on Tuesday during his contribution to the budget, saying that considering the consequential high risks of uranium mining in Namibia, the Environment Tax should be introduced soonest.
“It has been revealed that there are vast benefits Namibia can derive from mining. However, over decades the main beneficiaries of the vast mineral resources have been private companies and economies other than Namibia,” he said.
The Swanu leader complained that communities are often exposed to toxic environmental hazards from mining operations, and yet mining corporations are not held accountable for many of the costs their operations inflict on society.
Those costs, such as land destruction, are costs borne by Government and by taxpayers.
Tabling the budget last week, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in order to meet the increasing resources of the State, her ministry will continue with efforts to identify new sources of revenue.
She explained that a carbon dioxide tax was designed to reduce the output of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide, a colourless and odourless incombustible gas, into the atmosphere. The tax is imposed with the goal of environmental protection.
The finance ministry has since 2011 been pushing ahead with its plans to introduce environmental taxes on specific disposable consumer goods as well as on passenger vehicle carbon-dioxide emissions and tyres.
This levy will be calculated based on vehicle specifications, and the tax will be loaded onto the selling price of new cars.
The minister said Government will continue with tax reforms to enhance efficiency, broaden and deepen the revenue base and increase the competitiveness of the tax regime.
Other tax changes to be introduced are a non-mining corporate income tax rate which will further be reduced by 1 per cent as announced in last year’s budget; while taxes to promote domestic value-addition in the primary commodity and natural resources sectors have also been finalised and are soon to be introduced.