WINDHOEK, 22 MAY (NAMPA) - The Namibia Logistics Association (NLA) has called for the abolishment of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) of trade, especially the delays in as well as lengthy and costly customs? clearance procedures.
NLA Secretary-General Harald Schmidt made this request during the launch of the Namibia Customs and Business Forum (NCBF) here on Wednesday.
?Lengthy and costly customs? clearance procedures, NTBs related to rules of origin, NTBs related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, inadequate trade-related infrastructure and costly road-user charges or other fees may be the reason why the present clearance procedures in Walvis Bay are taking much too long, thus the NLA?s frequent and regular appeal to Customs to urgently look into these clearance delays,? he noted.
Schmidt said the Directorate of Customs and Excise in the Ministry of Finance is not necessarily the stakeholder responsible for the delays, as a number of factors pertaining to the off-loading and goods? release processing within the harbour could easily be the root cause of these problems.
He acknowledged that the Directorate of Customs, being the lead agent, often has to ?face the music? on behalf of the guilty parties.
Schmidt thus called for the establishment of integrated border management systems, leading to effective and efficient co-operation between the various authorities who need to fulfill their assigned responsibilities - first on national level, and then on cross-border level.
The simplification of procedures and the eradication of the duplication of procedures on both sides of the border also need urgent attention, he added.
Schmidt, however, commended Government for implementing programmes of customs? modernisation, adding that whilst the roll-out of the legislative framework and operational programmes will be a phased approach, the industry welcomes every step taken towards trade facilitation.
Trade facilitation is key to continued trade growth, of which the significance has been highlighted by a recent World Bank study which indicated that 75 per cent of delays worldwide are facilitation- related, and only 25 per cent are infrastructure-related.
According to Schmidt, one day?s delay is estimated to reduce trade by one per cent.
?Trade is an essential driver for economic prosperity. The evolving partnership between the public and private sector within the NCBF is a quantum leap in phasing out the archaic elements, and replacing these with elements that promote operational systems and processes based on stakeholder synergy-creation,? he noted.
The NCBF is envisaged to become a biannual dialogue forum that brings together public and private sector stakeholders in the trading chain to continually assess and adopt measures which promote effective trade facilitation, enhances customs? operations as well as higher compliance by the trading community.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-committee on Customs? Co-operation supports the launch, in partnership with the German Society for International Cooperation (GiZ)-ProSPECT in Botswana.