The Minister of Industrialization and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu, has introduced a relief programme to waive a staggering N$275 million in penalties accumulated by non-compliant businesses from 2012 to 2022.
The announcement comes after thorough consultations with key stakeholders, including the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises.
The Bipa Annual Duty Penalty Waiver Programme aligns with the guidelines laid out in the Business and Intellectual Property Authority Act number 8 of 2016 and has received the nod from Cabinet.
"Over the years, BIPA has been faced with the challenge of collecting legacy annual duties and associated penalties. It has also been observed that business owners resort to registering new entities as opposed to paying for their outstanding annual duties. This practice, I am informed, has resulted in hundreds of dormant businesses on the register and inaccurate data pertaining to the number of registered entities in Namibia," explained Iipumbu.
Minister Iipumbu further stressed that the relief programme aims to not only provide financial respite to businesses but also offer them a chance to start afresh and ensure compliance moving forward.
"The relief comes at an opportune time if one considers the economic hardships that our entrepreneurs have and continue to endure, firstly due to the global economic downturn, which was further exacerbated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, our entrepreneurs are urged to make use of this opportunity and obtain more information from BIPA in this regard. Entrepreneurs in all 14 regions are urged to make use of the relief accorded to them and avoid last-minute applications. We are cognizant of the fact that BIPA does not have offices in all 14 regions; therefore, entrepreneurs are encouraged to request information through the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade Regional Offices."