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SACU, UK ink agreement to support the implementation of the ongoing Customs Modernisation Programme

SACU, UK ink agreement to support the implementation of the ongoing Customs Modernisation Programme

The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Paulina Mbala Elago, and the Director for Economic Diplomacy at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Lewis Neal, on Monday in the UK, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support implementation of the ongoing SACU Customs Modernisation Programme.

The SACU Regional Customs Modernisation Programme seeks to strengthen collaboration and to enhance administrative efficiencies amongst Customs Administrations in the SACU Member States of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.

The key objective of the Programme is to enhance efficiency in order to facilitate cross border movement of goods while securing borders to curb the scourge of illicit trade, as well as to ensure seamless movement of legitimate trade. The Programme also aims to promote Traders’ compliance with the national laws and policies.

The Programme is further designed to enhance efficiency in the core strategic areas of Customs Administration, notably Information Technology Systems, Strategies, Processes and Procedures. This entails the development and implementation of the regional Customs Tools and Frameworks to strengthen cooperation and collaboration on IT Connectivity; Risk Management and Enforcement; Preferred Trader Programme; and Customs Legislative Framework.

To date the key regional Customs Tools and Frameworks have been developed. These include (a) Model Bilateral Arrangement to facilitate automatic exchange of information; (b) Preferred Trader Programme Engagement Strategy; (c) Preferred Trader Programme Training Manuals on Risk Management and Audit for Customs Officials; (d) Preferred Trader Programme Internal and External Manuals to guide Customs Officials and Traders on implementation of the Preferred Traders Programme; (e) IT Connectivity Blue Print; (f) IT Connectivity Utility Block “Your Export Is My Entry”; (g) IT Connectivity Unique Consignment Reference; (h) Regional
Customs Risk Management and Enforcement Strategy; (i) Regional Customs Compliance Management Strategy.

An initial funding support amounting to £158,690.09 has been committed by the UK for the period from October 2019 to 31 March 2020.

The UK has further committed to provide continued support towards the implementation of the SACU Customs Modernisation Programme as well as Trade related support. The funding support for the subsequent year will be based on the activities to be agreed by both Parties.

The support from the UK will therefore assist SACU Member States to fully implement the above critical regional Tools and Frameworks. The ultimate objective is to enhance efficiencies related to cross border movement of goods.

Meanwhile, it is envisaged that upon full implementation of the SACU Customs Modernisation Programme, the SACU region will benefit from amongst others, reduced costs, predictability and transparency, improved co-operation and collaboration with various stakeholders, increased competitiveness and Sustainable customs reform and modernization efforts in the region. For the private sector, the benefits that will accrue in the long term include reduction in the transaction costs associated with border crossings, and enhanced competitiveness of business which encourages new investments.


 

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.