Tax and customs offices are the gatekeepers of a country's economy and should be respected as such.

This was the view of Swapo Party Member of Parliament, Natangwe Ithete, who stressed the importance of public education and creating awareness of people's duty to pay taxes to the state.

Ithete further expressed worry about the lack of staff at the Namibia Revenue Agency.

was pleased with an increase in revenue collection by NamRa in the northern and western regions.

He, however, raised a few concerns pertaining to the Oshikango border post, including poor fencing and the illegal passing of goods and people without notice to the border personnel.

These challenges, he said, are responsible for revenue losses.

"There are countless issues at the border post currently, as we speak, that need the huge attention of the ministry. Lack of office space and staff shortages are at most NAMRA offices throughout the country, which is also a concern to the committee. Weaknesses at the border's warehouses at Oshakati, Oshikango, and the post of Walvisbay and the overall shortcomings in the current customs that exercise the Act 20 of 1998 are also a matter of concern to the committee."

Another challenge noted was that the customs clearance office's software was not synchronised to that of the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS).

He thus implored NAMRA to update its systems to the latest available technology, saying that without intervention, issues like misclassifications, under-evaluations, smuggling, and general disregard for the rules would continue to hamper operations.

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Joleni Shihapela