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LOZITHA – His Majesty King Mswati III has set the bar high for the next SACU chairmanship as the union’s member states had the highest receipts ever under his leadership.

This was shared during the 8th Southern African Customs Union (SACU) summit of Heads of State or government held at Mandvulo Grand Hall at Lozitha Palace yesterday. The summit was attended by President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila, who represented that country’s president Dr. Hage Gotfried Geingob, Mmusi Khafela who is the Minister of Trade in the Republic of Botswana and represented President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Lesotho Prime Minister Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane. The delegates were hosted by the King who is the chairman of the union until July 15, 2023.

While giving the keynote address, the King said he was pleased that the union was experiencing positive developments in the collection of SACU receipts, which will contribute immensely to the social and economic development of the five countries which are Eswatini, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia.


“As Eswatini, we are happy that during our chairmanship all member states realised a windfall in our SACU receipts. We need to maintain these positive results and standards to increase the returns even more,” he said. His Majesty told the delegates that the country’s receipts increased by a significant share of 102 per cent when compared to the previous year. “It is the first time seeing such high returns,” he said. He explained that the contributing factor to the positive growth was the higher than projected outturn of the 2021/2022 Common Revenue Pool (CRP), together with the 25 per cent increase in the projected size of the CRP for 2023/2024 compared to 2022/2023 financial year. 

The increase in Eswatini’s share of total intra-SACU imports from 9.6 per cent in the revenue sharing framework for 2022/2023 to 10.8 per cent in 2023/2024 was also a contributing factor. “Indeed, the measures that our Ministry of Finance has been implementing in order to enhance intra-SACU imports have started paying off,” he said.


The King noted that these improvements came about regardless of the difficulties faced by countries’ economies brought about by global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The King also lauded the tremendous work that had been done under the trade facilitation programme, which would advance the SACU regional integration agenda. He highlighted that the launch of the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) Programme in the various SACU member states marked a greater milestone. The AEO is a flagship customs-business partnership. It offers opportunities for customs authorities to share its compliance security responsibilities with the private sector and at the same time, rewards them with several trade facilitation benefits.

The King, therefore, called for SACU member states to work towards seamless borders, where goods move from one country to another without delays at points of entries. He noted that the programme also helped to fast-track controls and reduction in administration costs for customs clearance.
“We anticipate seeing fewer delays in shipments, reduced theft and losses of goods just to name a few. As Eswatini, we are very pleased with such developments and thank all those who were responsible for carrying out the new architecture of declaring of goods at the point of entry,” he said.
His Majesty noted that improvement in trade came at an opportune time when the continent was working towards trading under one umbrella of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).


Further, the vehicles of trade such as SACU were not developed over night, hence he called for the same dedication to be applied in the AfCFTA in order for the entire African continent to trade effectively. “We also need to bring forth and share other success stories under SACU to motivate best practices that can be adopted by the AfCFTA, to boost intra-Africa trade,” he said. He went on to note that SACU success story follows on the footsteps of other positive economic developments in Eswatini, which has been recognised by the World Bank as one of the top five growing economies with a GDP growth at 7.43 per cent in 2021. “We have also been ranked 2nd when it comes to manufacturing value added per capita in the African continent, while ranking 6th in the Africa Industrialisation Index 2022,” he said.