The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) on Thursday held its first engagement with government agencies and private sector representatives in Namibia as part of a series of activities aimed to promote trade facilitation and logistics across the region.
The event was organized by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA), with a particular focus on the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program.
Speaking at the event in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, SACU Executive Secretary Thabo Khasipe explained that the AEO program aims to provide private sector companies with benefits such as faster goods clearance, supply chain optimization, lower costs of cross-border trade, prioritized treatment at the border, and mutual recognition arrangements.
Khasipe said that the overall objective of the AEO program is to improve compliance, and efficiencies, and reduce the cost of doing business in the SACU, which has its headquarters in Windhoek.
“Trade facilitation and logistics have been prioritized as a key component of our strategic plan, with a focus on industrialization as the overarching objective,” Khasipe said, adding that the AEO Program has two components: compliance and safety and security where the SACU has been implementing the compliance component in phases, with the initial phase focused on developing the tools and frameworks required for an AEO Compliance Program.
He stated that as of March 23, all SACU member states have established and are implementing their respective AEO Compliance Programs using the minimum standards and criteria and procedure manuals developed at the regional level. The AEO program will be implemented across the SACU region.
Khasipe said the program will culminate in a meeting, namely, Regional AEO Engagement Session for Customs and Other Government Agencies and the Private Sector, which will be held on May 29 to 31. Enditem