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NEW ERA | The proper handling of sensitive company documents Page 12 IMF says global recovery on firmer footing Page 13 INSIDE BUSINESS This news is your business NIPA calls for extension on taxpayers’ amnesty Staff Reporter Windhoek The Namibia Institute of Professional Accountants (NIPA) has appealed for government to extend the deadline for the current amnesty for taxpayers. This request comes in the wake of an announcement made by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein concerning the tax recovery programme for taxpayers’ arrears which will end on July 31, 2017. “We believe it’s very difficult for taxpayers to participate in the incentive scheme, as to qualify, the exact capital amount and payment is required by the 31st July before they can apply for amnesty,” stated Essie Herbst, CEO of NIPA. “Many taxpayers are unaware of the amount they owe, as they have not been assessed and assessment is a lengthy process.” Demonstrating concern not only for taxpayers, but for all businesses, their future and families, Herbst states that the smaller business market represents about 10 percent of GDP, contributing to 46 percent of the employment market and 21 percent of households in Namibia. NIPA further stresses that the economy is severely traumatised by the recession and that its focus has been to survive the negative impact on cash flow and retain their employees. Many smaller businesses have already closed since January this year and some are soon to face closure. “This will also affect many pensioners who have long since retired, and have outstanding returns, and payments. Individuals that have been retrenched will also be affected,” adds Herbst. Furthermore, NIPA in consultation with its 178 members, have recently received an overwhelming response from close to 20 000 taxpayers, who have said they do not understand the incentive programme, but once explained, indicated that they would like to participate, yet they do not qualify to apply. This is a clear indication of the need to grant taxpayers more opportunity to settle their affairs in a reasonable time, the institute said. NIPA says it acknowledges and appreciates the role that the Ministry of Finance has taken in recovering debt, and granting taxpayers an opportunity to settle outstanding taxes. However, NIPA believes that the ministry should carry out their duty to practice administrative justice, as prescribed in Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution that states that administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed upon such bodies and officials by common law and any relevant legislation. To ensure full participation from tax payers, NIPA is recommending that payment of outstanding debt by taxpayers currently registered under the scheme to have time extended to the 31st December 2018 to settle debt. New entrants to the programme should be given the chance to adhere to the same deadline. Herbst further adds that the Receiver of Inland Revenue should grant all taxpayers with outstanding capital balances, an affordable repayment schedule based on terms discussed individually between the Receiver of Inland Revenue and the taxpayer. “We believe that most taxpayers want to pay, but do not have the financial means to settle full amounts immediately,” she said. Advising taxpayers, NIPA has also urged individuals and businesses to come forward, make the capital Essie Herbst payments and apply for the incentive programme. “If they know their affairs are not in order, they should approach a professional accountant for assistance,” Herbst states. Success a catalyst for temptations – Alweendo Tom Alweendo Edgar Brandt Windhoek There are a number of reasons why leaders lose their moral compass, one of which is the more successful they become as leaders, the more temptations come their way. “As a leader in business or in public service, there will always be those who would want to tempt you to do the wrong things,” said Minister of Economic Planning, Tom Alweendo during last week’s Corporate Governance Seminar at the Namibia Institute for Public Administration and Management (NIPAM). “There will always be those who will offer you inducements in exchange for what seems, at the time, to be a career-enhancing opportunity. It is therefore important – as a leader – to always be on the outlook for what could turn out to be career-ending. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Alweendo noted that another aspect of ethical leadership is that of examining the motive of wanting to be a leader. “There are wrong reasons why someone may want to become a leader; and there are also the right reasons to become a leader. It is therefore very important to ask yourself the question – why do I want to become a leader?” said Alweendo. During the seminar, Alweendo – a former governor of the Bank of Namibia - questioned why people are attracted to the positions of CEO, asking if it is because of attractive compensation packages or the desire to lead successfully. “And a number of CEOs certainly do have attractive remuneration packages and I guess we all agree that having money is a great feeling. Do I want to be the leader because of the prestige that accompanies the leadership position? We all know that when you are the CEO or the minister, most people tend to be polite to you. They even forget that you have a name and only call you ‘Sir’ or ‘Honourable’; they will even stand up for you when you enter the room; they will insist to carry your bag even when it is empty. Do I want to be the leader because of the power attached to the leadership position? Some leadership positions are indeed very powerful where the leader decides who leaves and who stays; who gets promoted and who gets demoted; sometimes even who lives and who dies. It feels rather invigorating or does it?” Alweendo asked. He further noted that there are also cases where successful leaders fell from grace not necessarily because they did something wrong. These are leaders who year in and year out deliver great results. These include corporate CEOs who have made their shareholders wealthy, political leaders who won elections with huge margins and in the process making their political parties symbols of success, he observed. In the process such leaders become famous, receive accolades and become sought-after keynote speakers at important events. “Unfortunately for some such leaders, the success becomes an end in itself. They start to desire more and more success, in the process becoming addicted to the prestige and the fame they have obtained. When that happens, such leaders start to believe that they are the alpha and omega – and nothing can happen without them. It is when they start to lose their moral compass,” Alweendo warned. He continued that the challenge to all leaders will be to master the necessary self-discipline to always do what is right and to do so even when it is not a popular thing to do; and also to do so irrespective of the consequence. This, said Alweendo, is not easy and requires great courage, but this is what it takes for leaders to leave a lasting positive legacy.