Slow response to Bipa waiver


The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa)’s annual duty penalty waiver programme has seen a slow response, with fewer than 20 000 out of the 217 000 registered businesses in the country having participated.

In an interview with Desert Radio, Bipa spokesperson Ockert Jansen yesterday said businesses have been asking for the waiver programme, yet uptake has been slow.

The programme was officially launched on 15 November last year, and was supposed to end on 31 March this year before being extended.

The programme aims to waive the penalties incurred on annual duties for all registered companies and close corporations.

Jansen said Namibia has over 217 000 registered businesses, with close corporations making up 85% to 87% of that total, which is roughly 187 000 entities.

The initial launch of the waiver programme, however, saw minimal participation.

“There was very little interest in the programme, even though Bipa marketed it on various platforms . . . But when we announced the closing date of 31 March, we really saw an influx of people to the programme,” Jansen said.

He said this last-minute rush prompted Bipa to extend the deadline to 30 June.

“This extension aims to provide businesses, particularly those in remote regions, with better access to participate,” Jansen said.

He urged businesses to register early to avoid long queues and a last-minute scramble.

Jansen said the programme offers a chance to achieve full compliance with annual duty filings and beneficial ownership declarations.

“When a business participates, you are now able to fully comply with the requirements set out in either the Companies Act or the Close Corporations Act, and you will be up to date with your annual duty filing,” he said.

Moreover, being compliant as a business will enable businesses to participate in public procurement opportunities that require Bipa’s good standing certificate.

“Previously restricted businesses with outstanding fees can now amend their registrations. Compliance enhances a company’s image for potential foreign investors, potentially attracting substantial foreign investment in the country,” Jansen said.

Bipa’s processes are currently manual, requiring in-person registration with certified copies of ID cards and proof of payment, however, an online registration system is reportedly under development for future efficiency.

“We are experiencing challenges, because our processes are still manual. I think it is common cause that that is a challenge for Bipa, but it’s also an opportunity for me to let the audiences know we are working towards getting an online registration system, which would greatly help us become more efficient and effective in our mandate,” Jansen said.

In November 2023, non-compliant Namibian businesses owed Bipa an accumulated N$275 million in duties and penalties for the period from 2012 to 2022.

Jansen said companies or close corporations incur penalties when they do not file their annual returns as prescribed by law, and further fail to pay the associated duty.

He said companies and close corporations have been incurring penalties since their incorporation.

Even prior to the establishment of Bipa, the authority thought it prudent to waive these penalties for the period from 2012 to 2022.

Jansen said Bipa would waive 100% penalties and additional fees which were payable by a business between 2012 and 2022 on condition that the entity pays its annual duty capital amount for each specific year of non-payment.

Close corporations are required to pay N$120 in duty fees annually within the prescribed period to avoid incurring penalties, which are calculated over a five-month period and are capped at N$600 a year.
*email:; Twitter:@ShaniaLazarus

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