The Namibia Customs Business Forum was launched on May 22, 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia. In her opening remarks, Namibia’s Minister of Finance Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila said “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”.
The launch took place following the recommendation made during the 20th SADC Sub Committee on Customs Cooperation (SCCC) meeting to establish National Customs Business Forums (NCBF) in all SADC Member States.
Recently other National Customs Business forums (NCBF) were established and launched in Malawi in September 2012 and in Zambia in April 26, 2013 in collaboration with German Technical Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Trade Help.
The Forums 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.When launched in Zambia, the Deputy Minister of Commerce Trade & Industry, in the presence of Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) said in his keynote address “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 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.
In May 2013, the SCCC endorsed a Private Sector involvement strategy which additionally recommends the establishment of a Regional Customs Business Forum.