New policy for clearing, forwarding agents

Compliance

27 August 2020 | Business

Jacqueline Gawanas; Acting commissioner; “The premise is to foster and encourage local participation…”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

A new policy pertaining to clearing and forwarding agents is currently being formulated.

The ministry of finance hosted an online panel discussion about the topic on Tuesday.

The acting commissioner for customs and excise Jacqueline Gawanas said that the new policy for clearing agents seeks to foster compliance within the customs and excise industry.

“The regional and national trading systems under which we operate has necessitated the review of the existing policy to keep abreast with the ever-changing and dynamic customs environment.”

Gawanas added that it is imperative that stakeholders need to be engaged, as a holistic approach will assist the directorate of customs and excise to develop all-encompassing policies that address impediments to cross-border trade with the view of enhancing efficiency at borders.

In 2017, a moratorium was placed on the registration and the issuing of licences of clearing and forwarding agents.

“This was the start for the directorate of customs to embark on a new policy in line with international practices that took into account the World Customs Organisation’s standards. Clearing agents are regarded as an integral and critical part in the supply chain in offering arrangements in import and export solutions for intended goods for home consumption, warehousing, transit and distribution,” she said.

Changes

The deputy director for trade facilities Susan Beukes highlighted a number of changes pertaining to the registration of clearing and forwarding agents, adding that there are currently 343 active clearing agents in the country.
Amongst others, the proposed requirements include that all clearing agents’ current or new applications, must be a juristic person (be 80% Namibian owned), and they need to be a citizen with a clear code of conduct from the police, whether local or international.

Applicants also need to furnish evidence of proficiency in customs related matters and provide proof of established premises. Upon arrival, a N$20 000 bond needs to be paid, proof of a fitness certificate is required and a N$2 000 non-refundable application needs to be paid as well.

Beukes said when a license is approved, it is not transferrable.

“Applicants need to be registered with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and no third party is allowed to use the license. Operations may not take place outside Namibian boundaries and failure to adherence will result in revocation. Agents must use the declarant code at all times and must inform customs if operations are ceased within seven days.”

Beukes said the current licence for clearing and forwarding agents remains valid until 31 December 2020 and the new application process will commence on 1 September 2020.

A competency test will also need to be carried out.

For further information, the live stream session is still available on the Ministry of Finance Facebook page.

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