WINDHOEK, 24 SEP (NAMPA) -
Namibia needs to strengthen its collaboration with the private sector and neighbours in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) region to develop trade facilitation initiatives that respond to business needs.
Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein said this on Thursday during a breakfast meeting co-hosted by his ministry and the SACU Secretariat, which was held under the theme 'The role of trade facilitation in supporting business in the Southern African Development Community Region: the national chapter for Namibia'.
The objective of the meeting, held in Windhoek, was to elevate dialogue between the private sector and Namibian Government in the area of trade facilitation; its inner workings and opportunities to support the government's key priorities of poverty eradication; social-economic advancement; job creation and wealth distribution; among others.
"We need to work together to robustly push this agenda, even if it calls for additional resources," Schlettwein said.
He noted that one of the initiatives developed and implemented in collaboration with the private sector is the Namibia Trade Information Portal in July 2015.
The portal provides trade facilitation through online publication of trade regulatory information for the domestic and international trade community.
Other notable initiatives the minister mentioned are the revision of customs and excise legislation to make customs relevant in international trade and the establishment of one-stop border posts aimed at reducing the number of stops incurred in a cross-border trade transaction.
The one-stop border posts combine the activities of both countries' border operations at a single location.
Schlettwein urged the local business community to support trade facilitation initiatives and inculcate a culture of compliance across all sectors to lessen the need for controls imposed by Government at ports of entry and exit.
"As government we are also working to enhance our efficiencies and my officials will share with you some of the trade facilitation initiatives we are pursuing," he said.
The minister noted that Namibia's value of imports accounted for N.dollars 85.9 billion in 2014 compared to N.dollars 67.4 billion recorded in 2013.
The export value of goods accounted for only N.dollars 49.3 billion in 2014. Schlettwein said this underpins a stark imbalance between export mainly for primary products and import (primarily tertiary finished products).
The SACU member states are Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.