Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu launched Namibia’s online import and export system (Imex) on Wednesday, 24 March to streamline cross border trading and to take benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA). The Imex system enables traders to submit online permit applications and moves the issuance of permits to a single point. This is opposed to the usual manual application traders have been subjected to and that has been in operation for many years.
Speaking at the occasion, Iipumbu said through this digital portal economic operators will benefit from a simplified, transparent, standardised, and a harmonised system. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), these factors are key to global trade facilitation approaches worth emulating, to which Namibia is no exception.
“Imex allows for efficient and effective services, creating an enabling environment for ease of trading with a potential impact of improved competitiveness of doing business trading across the border,” explained the minister.
Similarly, she said it has the potential to reduce processing time, errors, costs, duplication of efforts, as well as the flexibility of economic operators to access the system online from anywhere and anytime. In the same vein, Iipumbu noted the new digital system will enhance the benefits through enhanced trade facilitation to be reaped from the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area as well as many other trade agreements Namibia has adopted.
She outlined that the import and export initiative comes at the right time as it endorses Covid-19 protocols by reducing human interaction and instantly facilitating the issuance of permits.
The trade minister urged all relevant stakeholders to make meaningful use of the system to ensure it allows the ministry to identify deficits and to enable timely rectification to perfect the platform as needs evolve. Furthermore, she stated that future consideration for a service fee may be advanced to cater for the maintenance and sustainability of the system.
According to Iipumbu, online tools have become major instruments for simplifying and automating trade procedures, which are similarly important tools for supporting paperless trade and enhancing regional and global integration.
“The importance of online tools is becoming increasingly pivotal in the world that we are living in today and therefore cannot be over emphasised,” said the trade minister. - email@example.com