By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A terms of reference agreement was on Friday signed between the Ministry of Finance and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance in efforts to increase Namibian tax revenue collection. The agreement was signed between the Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and the American Ambassador to Namibia, Joyce Barr. “The Namibian Directorate of Inland Revenue (IRD) has been working very closely with the US Treasury Department’s Technical Assistance Office since August of last year to develop a technical assistance package that best meets the IRD’s needs. As a result of their close cooperation, IRD and the Office of Technical Assistance decided to target the following areas for assistance: audits, collections, planning and management, organizational structure, taxpayer education and assistance and legislation,” said Ambassador Joyce Barr at the signing ceremony. According to the ambassador, technical experts from the US will be travelling to Namibia in the coming months and some of the activities that will take place under this project are as follows: – Assistance in the development and implementation of an integrated planning and management system, which will include multi-year strategic plans as well as training and coaching of managers to effectively implement management principles. – Assistance in organizing a structural framework for managing IRD activities. Development of an action plan for structural change and teaching managers how to handle that change will be important components of this part of the project. – Development of standard operating procedures, a guideline manual for tax audits, and an annual plan for auditing businesses and individuals. – Focusing on IRD activities for educating taxpayers and tax practitioners to improve compliance with the tax laws. This effort will consist of reviewing and developing improved taxpayer education and taxpayer assistance programs. – With regard to collections, prioritization of the arrears workload and making more efficient use of IRD resources. – Assistance in the review of current tax legislation, addressing tax policy issues and incorporating global “best practices” into the Namibian tax system. “We are excited about this project, as we believe that greater control over tax revenues will ultimately enhance the Namibian Government’s ability to encourage economic development. We look forward to working closely with you to build technical capacity within the IRD,” Barr said.