31 Oct 2022
October started with rains countrywide rains mixed with hailstorms as a surprise, which resulted in large areas covered in white.
The container terminal at the port of Walvis Bay will be outsourced to the Swiss TIL company TIL, which is the major shareholder in the renowned shipping line MSC.
Namibia and Zambia signed a memorandum of understanding to construct an oil and gas pipeline, which will run from Walvis Bay to Zambia.
Namibia has introduced a temporary working visa for digital nomads and a one-stop centre for investors.
Namibia’s first Miss Namibia and Miss Universe, Michelle McLean has bagged a leadership award for the second consecutive time. The “Empowered Woman and Fearless Leader” award is issued by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). It is an international networking organisation that handpicks the world's finest professionals from different industries.
The award was announced and displayed on the famous Wall Street billboard in New York.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has tabled his budget mid-term review in Parliament and announced several reforms such as lowering the current corporate tax for non-mining companies from 32 to 30 percent by April 2025.
The Bank of Namibia has increased its repo rate by 0,75 %percent to 6,25 %percent this month. Inflation eased to 7,1 %percent at the end of September (August: 7,3%), according to the Namibia Statistics Agency.
The Namibia Ports Authority (NamPort) announced it has picked a Swiss company, Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), as the preferred bidder to operate the new container terminal at Walvis Bay. TIL is sixty percent owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which also runs a cruise lineing company, apart from the container business. The NamPort chief executive officer Andrew Kanime made the announcement this month. Negotiations for the detailed outsourcing agreement would start soon and the signing as well as handing over the container terminal is envisaged for the first quarter of 2023.
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDBipdb) Namibia has launched its one-stop center for investors for new and existing investors to reduce red tape and bureaucracy for them. It serves as a single access point for information and services to local and foreign investors. Officials from nine public authorities, including the Windhoek municipality provide information and investors can apply for visas and work permits, register their businesses, company names and also register for income tax and VAT among others.
The Minister of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) Lucia Iipumbu said that the one-stop centre would provide “prompt, efficient and transparent services to investors to shorten and simplify administrative procedures, thereby removing bottlenecks faced by both local and foreign investors in Namibia," she said.
A working committee, composed of public and private sector stakeholders is overseeing the centre. The centre is housed in the offices of the NIPDB.
The NIPDBipdb has started a drive to attract some of the world’s 35 million digital nomads to Namibia with a special visa for a period of three to six months. Online applications can be made to the NIPDBipdb, which will pre-select the most eligible applicants for recommendations to the Ministry of Home AffairsHome Affairs Ministry.
Applicants have to prove that they earn enough money to be self-sufficient during their stay. Proof of income or funding to sustain themselves and dependants (2000 US$ – applicants per month, 1000 US$ for the accompanying spouse and 500 US$ per accompanying child per month must be supplied. Applicants must also have valid travel documents, health or travel insurance covering risks while in Namibia.
After six years of economic decline and growth only picking up this year again, the finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi announced that he expects an increase of N$ 4,4 billion N$ more revenue income from taxes.
Minister Shiimi has tabled the mid-term review of the state budget end of October with the surprise of N$ 4.4 billion N$ higher revenue. As a result he revised revenue income for the current 2022/23 financial year increasedupwards by N$4.4 billion from N$59.7 to N$64.1 billion.
The windfall made it possible to absorb the N$ 1,3 billion N$ for the three percent salary and benefits increase for civil servants which became effective from October. The development budget receives some N$ 497.7 million N$ more, to reach five billion N$ and several ministries received additional allocations for the remaining six months of the financial year.
The budget deficit is expected to decline to about 5.3% of GDP in this financial year, a bit lower than the 5.6% estimated in the main budget tabled in February 2022.
The public debt stock is expected to increase to N$138.4 billion, equivalent to 69.6% of GDP this financial year.
Other increases and reforms
The non-mining company tax rate of 32 %percent will be reduced by 2%two percent in two steps, starting with 1% to 31% effective in the financial year2024/25. A further reduction of 1% to 30% will come in 2025/26.
An increase in the monthly food vouchers for urban poor households from N$500 to N$600 to come into effectcame effective in October 2022.
The disability grant for beneficiaries under the age of 18 will increase from N$250 to N$1,300 in the next financial year, which starts in April 2023.
An increase in the monthly old age grant and the disability grant for persons above the age of 18 as well as the monthly grant for orphans and vulnerable children grant could increase by N$100 per month effective in 2023/24, but only of finances permit.
The finance ministry is currently investigating the possibility to increase the deductibility for individual taxpayers on pension fund contributions and educational policy deductions to a maximum of N$150 ,000 per annum.
The finance ministry will undertake an assessment to possibly increase the threshold for income tax on Individuals from the current N$50,000 per annum to N$100,000 per annum.
The Hartlief Group - a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – has announced that the Mariental abattoir - formerly known as Farmers Meat Market - has resumed operations in October. It was closed in August 2020 after low throughput. The abattoir is also awaiting certification to export mutton internationally. The first shipment to Norway is expected before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, a large group of approximately 500 commercial farmers, who want to construct their own export abattoir in central Namibia via their company Savanna Beef showed interest to get the Brukkaros abattoir in Keetmanshoop up and running. This could revive slaughtering capacity in southern Namibia, create jobs and -like the abattoir in Mariental – provide markets for farmers in that part of the country.
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