Schlettwein calls on all finance targets to be met

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Edgar Brandt

Windhoek-Developing a macro-fiscal budgetary framework, improving revenue management, moving over to a semi-autonomous revenue agency and effectively managing expenditure are some of the targets the finance ministry has set itself for the current financial year. Minister Calle Schlettwein addressed these targets yesterday at the first general staff meeting for ministry officials, which was held in Windhoek.

“In the area of economic policy, regional and international partnerships, developing a macro-fiscal budgetary framework is indispensable to anchor the budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which I intend tabling in early March this year. I therefore expect the office of my Technical Economic Advisor and the Directorate of EPAS to coordinate the activities of the Macroeconomic Working Group for a credible macro-fiscal framework and accompanying policy packages for the budget,” said Schlettwein.

On revenue management, he noted that revenue collection targets have been set and have been broken down for each regional office to attain and to surpass. These targets include the recovery of tax arrears under the Tax Incentive Programme. “Customs and Excise functions are not only key to revenue collection but also more importantly for trade facilitation. The One-Stop Border Post legislation needs to be fast tracked. We should provide friendly and efficient taxpayer services and tax education is one conduit to continuously drive compliance. We should not relent in our efforts to improve tax policy and tax administration to achieve revenue base deepening and broadening as well as to improve efficiency in overall tax and customs administration,” said Schlettwein. He continued that the public expects a well-oiled and visible revenue collection machinery at all times and in all regions.

The Finance Minister further noted that the transition to the semi-autonomous Revenue Agency should be finalised this year and in this regard he will table the Revenue Agency Bill during February. Since most members of the Revenue Agency Task Team have taken up new job assignments elsewhere, Schlettwein has reconstituted the team under the chairmanship of Penda Ithindi, who is deputised by Nadine du Preez.

“The immediate action points for the Task Team is to facilitate the finalisation of the Bill, proposing the detailed organisational structure and budget for the agency and a coordinated roll-out of the stakeholder communication strategy,” Schlettwein stated.
On expenditure management, Schlewttein said the robustness of the public finance management system has been demonstrated by the ability to implement the budget and manage competing resource needs.

“The coming budget should conform to the growth-friendly policy stance and make concerted efforts to align budgetary allocations to key national priorities and alleviate some of the deep spending cuts on core programmes of priority nature,” he stated.

“What I have highlighted are only among the key deliverables we set for ourselves for the remainder of this financial year. The management team should lead the process of formulation of our annual targets for the coming year, not for its own sake, but for achieving the strategic targets espoused in the Strategic Plan of the ministry,” Schlettwein concluded.

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