Namibia not blacklisted by the EU

Timo Shihepo

WindhoekThe European Delegation to Namibia has said that although the country has been listed as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction, Namibia is not classified as a tax haven.

In what can been classified as a desperate move intended to calm the rising tensions between Namibia and the European Union, Head of the EU Delegation to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova, said Namibia is not blacklisted or a tax haven but the country has until December 2018 to prove that it’s in the clear.

The blacklisted countries are accused of behaving like tax havens. That means they promote unfair tax practices, or don’t share important financial information with the EU.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Hybaskova said there were three things that Namibia must communicate to the EU before December 2018.

First, the EU wants Namibia to join both the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange Information for Tax purposes and to sign, ratify and participate in the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on tax matters.

The second aspect is that the EU wants Namibia to clarify, amend or abolish “harmful” preferential tax regimes in named export processing zones and exporters regimes.

The third aspect is that the EU requested Namibia to join the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting to implement OECD BEPS minimum standards.

It’s almost like Namibia is being pushed into the corner and being asked to do its tax system the European way.

“EU Delegation to Namibia states that this decision of the Council of the EU should not be read as the decision listing Namibia as the tax haven. Namibia was not labelled as a tax haven as mistakenly mentioned in the international press and media,” said Hybaskova.

She added that the Council Decision of the EU only categorised Namibia as a country with non-cooperative tax jurisdiction.

“The list is temporary, and is based on the fact that Namibia did not respond to the questions posted and will be revised at least annually.”

Hybaskova’s press conference comes a day after the Namibia’s minister of finance, Calle Schlettwein, reacted angry to the news denying that Namibia is a tax haven.

This new development could affect the excellent relationship between the two parties. Read the full analysis in The Southern Times’ last edition of the yearU, next week.

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