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Investors are not 'vampires'.

Dear sir,

Some of the local newspapers recently published a letter written by Job Shipululo Amupanda, a Masters Degree student in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, under the title: "Vampires amongst us".

Amupanda expressed disappointment over the Cabinet's reversal of Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila's decision to implement proposed tax changes. The minister's attempted tax imposition caused worries in the mining sector which is a backbone of the country's economy.

The proposed tax changes included a 15% value added tax (VAT) on exports, as well as a 5% export levy. The Chamber of Mines had strongly and successfully opposed the new tax regime.

In his highly emotive article, Amupanda made indiscriminate and uncalled for attacks, stating that he "was extremely shocked and alarmed by such a lackadaisical and idiotic threat by those still practising economic apartheid."

He called the Chamber of Mines president, Mark Dawe, "the capitalist" and that his behaviour resembles that of "vampires" for reportedly threatening to alert investors worldwide, which the writer believes, was intended at harming the investment climate and country rating of Namibia.

He also said that: "It is shameful, unfortunate and scandalous that blacks such as Vetson Malango associate with those wishing to harm us for profit."

He then demanded that the "tax increase must continue". And blatantly claimed that: "We don't benefit from our resources, only Mark Dawe, his kids and friends do". He further threatened that: "If the chamber goes ahead with its plans to harm the investment climate and country rating, then we must confiscate all the mines of those involved ... If they misbehave and inflict quantifiable harm, all their mines automatically become assets of Epangelo Mining."

This is a clarion call for nationalisation by one of the better-educated Swapo Party youth league activists who are left behind, historically, politically and economically. They are still coming to terms with the end of the revolutionary philosophy of "vampires amongst us" while their leaders are eating caviar and signing deals in five-star hotels with these very people.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist or a mining investor to determine that Saara's unforeseen "tax imposition" on that industry would have serious implications for the country.

Had Amupanda been an investor-partner, he would equally have felt that the excessive tax charges could have slashed his profits by more than 60%, while dividends of his partners (foreign shareholders) could have been cut by 70%. It could also have reduced the mining sector's contribution to the national coffers.

Imposing the targeted tax increase could have done more harm to the investment climate and country rating and damage the previously excellent mining investment status of this country. Also, considering the current uncertain global financial circumstances and uncertainties, Namibian authorities should consider attracting rather than chasing away mining companies, like Julius Malema and Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe. They should create investment incentives to attract new investors into the country. It is interesting to observe the government's urgency in slapping the tax on mines but we have other investors, especially the Chinese traders, accused of not paying V.A.T, company tax, bank tax and or personal tax charges. Are they turning a blind eye on their 'best friends' from the East? Government is also not in a hurry to recover the millions that were looted from the State coffers through bogus investments.

Steven Mvula

Human Rights Activist

Land of the Brave (Namibia)
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Title Annotation:LETTERS & OPINION
Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 16, 2011
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