SADC launches National Customs Business Forums

The SADC Sub-Committee on Customs Cooperation (SCCC) emphasizes great importance in strengthening cooperation between Customs and the private sector in order to give Customs Administrations in the SADC region an opportunity to offer a more efficient and effective customs service to their clients. The overall purpose of Customs to business partnerships is to ensure a partnership and dialogue structure of key stakeholders in the trading chain that contributes to trade facilitation, improvements in customs operations and higher compliance by the trading community.

The SCCC during its 20th meeting made the recommendation to establish National Customs Business Forums (NCBF) in all SADC Member States. Recently National Customs Business forums were established and launched in Malawi (September 2012), Zambia (April 2013) and Namibia (May 2013).  The NCBFs are meant to facilitate a stronger partnership between Customs and business at national level, promoting a regular and results oriented dialogue, and taking action on existing challenges in the supply chain of goods.

The Zambia Customs to Business Forum (ZCBF) was launched on April 26th, 2013 by the Deputy Minister of Commerce Trade & Industry in the presence of Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Commissioner Customs (ZRA) and several public sector and business representative organizations which are important players in the Trading chain. In his keynote address, the Minister said “As a minister responsible for trade, i am profoundly delighted at seeing such initiatives being brought to the fore as this will help in improving the ease of doing business in Zambia. Furthermore, it is important to state that such initiatives are in line with best practices as stipulated under both multilateral organisations namely; the World customs organisation and the World trade organisation”.

The Namibia Customs Business Forum was launched by the Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on the 22nd May 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia. The forum is envisaged to become “a bi-annual dialogue forum that brings together public and private sector [actors] in the trading chain to continually assess and adopt measures that promote effective trade facilitation, as well as enhance customs operations and higher compliance,” a statement from the Finance Ministry says.

In May 2013, the SCCC endorsed a Private Sector involvement strategy which additionally recommends the establishment of a Regional Customs Business Forum (between Customs and its stakeholders) in a bid to facilitate the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade. Source: SADC Secretariat.


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