The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is brim-full of opportunities to strengthen intra-Africa trade, regional and continental value chains and to create access to new markets and revenue streams. Within this context of the renewal of supply chains, customs administrations will play an integral part as they unlock and leverage Namibia’s competitiveness and enhance both continental and global trade logistics.
These sentiments were expressed yesterday by Minister of Finance Iipumbu Shiimi during the celebration of World International Customs Day, which this year encompasses the theme: “Customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience for a sustainable supply chain”.
In a speech, delivered by Commissioner of the Namibian Revenue Agency (NamRA) Sam Shivute, Shiimi noted the unprecedented turmoil and peculiarities brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have placed increased pressure on trade and investment opportunities, placing significant strain on capacity to maximise on revenue. “To this end, the sustenance and security of the supply chain play a pivotal role in the movement of goods across borders and countries. At the onset of the Covid pandemic, the efficiency of our regional integration mechanisms was put to a test. Due to the capacity developed over the last few decades, we were able to seamlessly coordinate the movement of essential goods like medicine and food across the entire supply chain, despite the brunt of the pandemic,” Shiimi noted. The finance minister continued that as Namibia is in the process of launching NamRA, with a mandate to administer state revenue and reform customs and excise, this will contribute to a more enabling business environment.
He added that as part of modernising Namibia’s customs programme, the directorate is embarking various upgrades. This includes: new clearing agent and risk management policies; establishment of the container control programme; establishment of an electronic data interchange centre, and unique consignment reference and advance ruling.
“In operationalisation of these programmes, we are mindful of the advances in technology, which, if optimally used, can streamline our process and improve efficiency. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Namibia Customs and Excise Administration to pause and examine our economic and social projections and benchmark them against international best practices in order to remain relevant and attuned to the latest global developments,” said Shiimi.
“With the accreditation customs programme in the Department of Customs and Excise, the private sector can be assured of our commitment to secure the supply chain in line with the World Customs Organisation SAFE framework of Standards. I wish to invite the private sector to partake in this programme in order that we collectively place Namibia as a safe and secure global player,” Shiimi concluded.