New rules for customs clearance

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Tiri Masawi

Windhoek - Namibia is introducing a new policy to govern the operations of customs clearance agents to plug gaps and revenue losses incurred from undervaluation of imports.

Ministry of Finance public relations Officer Mr Tonateni Shidhudhu said the new system would be tightened, starting with proper vetting of prospective clearing agents.

“The Namibian government took the decision to implement a stringent policy for the registration of customs clearance agencies because of … undervaluing products. As a country, we lost revenue in the process and this is what led to the decision of coming up with a new policy.

“Currently there 343 active clearing agents. The process is now going to be watertight and applicants will be required to write an examination.”

The Ministry of Finance has since lifted a moratorium on registration of customs clearing agents.

“We have now approved the new policy/requirements that we believe will bring order and proper control as per the Customs and Excise Act,” Mr Shidhudhu said.

“All operational agents will remain active until December 31when new registration will be effective. The public is invited to note that all clearing agents on current operations or new operations will be subject to the following:

“Persons who can apply must be a juristic person (80 percent Namibian); furnish evidence of proficiency in customs-related matters; natural person/citizen with a code of conduct by the Namibian Police, the holder of a N$20,000 (about US$1,400) bond; have proof of certification; and be able to pay a N$2,000 (about US$14) non-refundable application fee.”

The government will conduct workshops and information sharing sessions with customs clearing agents.

Namibia is fast becoming a gateway to SADC’s landlocked countries via the recently upgrade Walvis Bay Port on the Atlantic coast, which makes it a viable option to Beira Port in Mozambique and South Africa’s Durban.

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