Impacting cross border trade positively

Supporting Namibia’s Logistics Hub

20 May 2019 | Ministries

Thandi Hambira; Acting Customs Commissioner; “Although the client reserves freedom of transit, container inspections at client, importer and exporter premises will also be carried out.”

Namibia’s newly formed Revenue Agency (NamRA) aims for faster clearance times for legitimate trade and increased transparency in regulatory processes and decision-making in support of Namibia’s Logistics Hub endeavours, says acting customs commissioner Thandi Hambira.

This is in line with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) 2019 theme of ‘Smart borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport’.

Hambira outlined the impact of NamRA on the Buitepos border post on the Namibian side of the Trans Kalahari Corridor at an information session hosted by the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) recently.

She explained that NamRA’s objective to improve coordination between customs units includes the coordination between customs and other border regulatory agencies at a national and international level. The organisation also aims to enhance detection of irregularities and illicit consignments through data collection and analysis.

To support this new emphasis of access to vital customs information, the Customs Information Centre (CIC) will offer online declaration of cargo to be accessed from the client’s office as well as pre-arrival processing for perishables, medicaments, ship spares amongst other.

“Although the client reserves freedom of transit, container inspections at client, importer and exporter premises will also be carried out,” Hambira said.

NamRA is scheduled to become fully operational in October 2019 and will replace the Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue departments in the Ministry of Finance.

It will operate as a semi-autonomous body responsible for revenue collection, the administration of tax, customs and excise laws, as well as the efficient provision of services to taxpayers via modern methods.

A smooth transitional phase is envisaged to allow for adequate stakeholder consultation and operational readiness such that there is no disruption to revenue collection and trade facilitation functions.

At the NamRA board introductory session in 2018, the Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein explained that NamRA was established against the backdrop of a rather enviable revenue collection record of 32% of the GDP, inclusive of SACU receipts or some 22.1% less SACU remittances. This is seen against the Sub-Saharan average collection capacity of about 16.5 percent.

“With this reform, we seek to improve operational efficiency through injection of more specialized skills, leveraging digital technology and a more robust performance driven culture. We also seek to build a more resilient and strong revenue administration institution which will serve as a conduit for modernisation and timely implementation of revenue mobilisation reforms in an ever changing business environment and increasingly integrated regional and global economy.”