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Namibian traders urged to join authorised economic operator programme

The Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra) hosted an awareness session on its authorised economic operator (AEO) programme at Walvis Bay on Friday.

The session, which was attended by various organisations, businesses, and trade communities in the Erongo region, aimed to create awareness and provide insight into the programme, its benefits, and the role it plays in fostering international trade.

Namra has been working towards streamlining and enhancing Namibia’s trade processes, ensuring efficiency, security, and compliance in the global supply chain. The AEO programme serves as a vital instrument in achieving these objectives.

Head of customs and excise Willbroad Poniso at the event said the good turnout testified to a commitment towards fostering economic growth and facilitating international trade in Namibia.

“It is our fervent desire that every trader in Namibia be well-informed about the AEO programme and the opportunities it presents. We strongly believe active participation of traders is crucial in harnessing the full potential of this programme and reaping its vast benefits.

“Namra acknowledges the pivotal role traders play in our economy, and we are fully committed to supporting your growth and success.

“By becoming authorised economic operators and embracing the AEO programme, you can gain a competitive edge, expedite your customs clearance processes, reduce costs, enhance security, and strengthen your relationships with trading partners across the globe,” he said. Poniso highlighted the critical significance of compliance with customs and tax laws.

He said it is important for businesses to ensure their records are impeccable and in accordance with regulations during the assessment process to enhance their chances of qualifying for accreditation.

Currently only one company, Namib Mills, is accredited as an AEO.

Namib Mills risk and compliance manager Cameron Kotze said the programme has greatly benefited their business.

“Since we signed up for the programme, we experienced a reduction of about 50% in the time our goods take to clear through customs and excise when it is imported – either from South Africa or at the port of Walvis Bay.

“The benefit is a significant reduction in the number of transactions of import that are physically inspected by Namra.

“Now that the mutual recognition agreement has been signed between those countries, the sugar imported through Walvis Bay is also cleared much quicker than in the past,” he said.

The AEO compliance programme is part of the broader AEO programme of the World Customs Organisation, which is aimed at rewarding compliant traders who meet specified criteria.

The criteria include an appropriate record of compliance with customs and other related laws and regulations, a system of managing records to allow for necessary internal controls, financial solvency, supply chain security with simplified customs procedures and trade facilitation benefits to encourage compliance and stimulate trade that will contribute to growth at both national and regional levels.