03 July 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to exert pressure on Namibian businesses operating in an already depressed and contracting economy. As a further response to the visible and adverse impact on the economic sector, the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), at a media conference on Wednesday, 17 June 20202, announced a two month payment break for levy employers.
This payment break follows a recommendation in this respect by the NTA Board to the Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation and the Minister of Finance, in accordance with provisions of the VET Act, which both Ministers acceded to, recently. Now, subject to finalisation of the requisite statutory processes, registered employers will not be required to pay the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy for a period of two (2) months, namely, July and August 2020.
Making the announcement at a media briefing at the NTA’s headquarters, CEO, Jerry Beukes stated that in as much that employers were not to pay levies for the two months, they still needed to submit their monthly declaration of June 2020 that would have been due on/before the 20th July; and the declaration of July 2020 that would have been payable on/before August 2020. “Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that this reprieve does NOT include the writing off of any outstanding penalties and interest. Employers should take note that in the absence of settlement of arrears, interest will continue to run in the stated months. And to prevent further accumulation thereof, our employers are encouraged to settle such arrears”, Beukes explained.
“The reprieve will amount to a projected reduction of approximately N$65 million in income from the collection of levies for the 2020/21 financial year. It is a substantial amount and in our view, a welcome boost and injection for our economy, during this challenging time. Nonetheless, we remain confident that this reduction will not impact the ongoing implementation of strategic transformation and expansion interventions adversely, nor will it have a long-lasting impact on the sustainability of the VET Levy programme”, Beukes added.
The NTA CEO, at the same platform, also elaborated about the impact of an earlier COVID-19 measure to extend the deadline for the submission of Employer Training Grant (ETG) claims, from 1 May to 5 June 2020. “Not only did we extend the deadline, we also relaxed our evidence requirements to only include invoices and proof of payment. We took this step because the country was in lockdown then, and we realised that many employers experienced difficulty in terms of accessing their offices and accessing information and evidence to support them in preparing their claims”, Beukes highlighted.
“We are happy with the response. It has had the desired impact. And as the NTA, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to those registered employers who submitted Employer Training Grant (ETG) claims for the 2019/20 financial year submission round, by the extended submission deadline. In fact, many submitted before the extension was announced. A small but notable increase in claims compared to the preceding submission round in 2018/19 has been recorded. But of significance to employers, and once again, as part of our efforts to reach out to them and support them in this partnership we have with them through this VET Levy programme, we are already in the process of processing these claims and paying out these claims. That process has started in earnest, we have aligned ourselves accordingly and we are working around the clock to ensure payouts, as we believe that it aids our employers further in overcoming the cash flow constraints they are experiencing”, the CEO concluded.