MORE than half of the Namibian population that participated in the Afrobarometer survey said they would support paying higher taxes if it meant more government services and better safety nets.
The Afrobarometer survey is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of quality of life, governance, and democracy.
Responses to a series of survey questions on taxation show that of the 1,2000 who were interviewed, about one-third are unhappy about tax rates, but at the same time, few of them find it easy to get information about required taxes and fees.
Majority of the participants do not want the government to emphasise tax collection among small traders and informal businesses, and consider it fair to tax the wealthy to help the poor.
They also largely think the government generally uses tax revenues to benefit the population.
A slim majority (51%) of participants favour paying higher taxes if it will mean more government services, but almost four in 10 (38%) would prefer lower taxes even if it means fewer government services. Citizens who actually pay income taxes are less supportive of higher taxes than those who don’t pay income taxes at all.
Only three out of 10 Namibians (29%) say it’s easy to find out what taxes and fees they are supposed to pay to the government, while a large majority find it difficult (50%) or say they “don’t know” (21%). Respondents who pay income taxes are twice as likely as those who don’t pay income taxes to say it’s easy (48% vs. 24%), suggesting that experience with the tax system makes an important difference in understanding how it works.
More participants of the survey think ordinary people are taxed too much (36%) and rich people are taxed too little (32%) than think the reverse (12% and 17%, respectively). More than half of respondents, however, have no complains about tax rates, saying that the amounts are about right or that they “don’t know”.