This week was a moderately busy one, mostly notable for how easily legislation progressed. After the lengthy debates over the local authorities and whistleblower protection bills, discussions seemed a breeze.
Take the lottery bill, for example. After just a few contributions from opposition MPs, the bill promptly went through the second reading and only didn’t pass the NA yesterday because questions to Ministers took up so much time. It will likely pass next week. The Usury Amendment Bill — which Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein introduced on Tuesday to regulate Microlenders — could also pass as soon as Tuesday. Though to be fair, this is understandable — the bill is very short. A different bill Schlettwein introduced is much more interesting. The Namibia Revenue Agency Bill creates an independent body that is responsible for collecting tax and catching those who try to evade it (much like SARS in South Africa). Some experts hope this new agency will be able to more effectively collect taxes, and be able to build the skills necessary to deal with complicated cases where the state is being deprived of what it’s due. Next week, we will see the introduction of amendments to the Property Valuers Profession Act.
Thursday’s question time was very productive. Ministers and deputies managed to answer 10 questions — a good chunk of the 34 on the question sheet. But more questions will be added to the sheet meaning that the backlog will remain. The oldest question answered on Thursday was originally asked on March 01. Opposition MPs ask many questions, meaning getting an answer requires patience.
Usury Amendment Bill
Namibia Revenue Agency Bill
Liquor Amendment Bill (with amendments, after being returned by the National Council)