How robust is the design of the Namibian mining fiscal regime in achieving government objectives?


Extraction of subsoil natural resources is regarded as a conversion of an asset in the ground to assets above the ground, both for the mine operator and the host government. To realise this potential, the host government need to have a robust and effective fiscal regime. The mineral sector fiscal regime provides rules on how rent from the extraction of mineral resource is shared, and in what proportion, with the government, and relates to both taxes and royalties. The design of the fiscal regime is dependent on, inter alia, government objectives. However, many challenges exist during the implementation of a fiscal regime, including poor administration and international tax planning, which reduces its effectiveness no matter how well designed it may be. Based on the literature review, this research aims to assess the design of the Namibian fiscal regime for mining to determine whether it is well designed to ensure attainment of government objectives, and analyse whether it is faced with challenges that may undermine its effectiveness. Namibia is a mineral producing country seeking to achieve improved development outcomes through the judicious use of revenues generated from its mining sector. In this endeavour, the design of the fiscal regime is salient to the realisation of that potential. The study finds that the Namibian mining sector’s fiscal regime is not sufficiently developed or robust enough to realise government objectives, that too many allowances and incentives undermine its operation, and that the existance of fiscal loopholes obviate its efficacy too. Specifically, the paper recommends that the fiscal regime for the Namibian mining industry should be reviewed to include a new resource rent tax, as well as address challenges that currently undermine its effectiveness.

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