Trade compliance in the spotlight

New policy coming for clearing, forwarding agents

31 August 2020 | Local News

LEANDREA LOUW

WALVIS BAY



A new policy for clearing and forwarding agents is currently being formulated.

During an online panel discussion hosted by the finance ministry on Tuesday, acting commissioner for customs and excise, Jacqueline Gawanas, said the new policy seeks to foster compliance within the industry.

“The regional and national trading systems under which we operate has necessitated the review of the existing policy to keep abreast with the ever-changing and dynamic customs environment.”

Gawanas added it is imperative for stakeholders to be engaged, as a holistic approach will assist the directorate of customs and excise to develop all-encompassing policies that address impediments to cross-border trade with the view of enhancing efficiency.



Moratorium

In 2017, a moratorium was placed on the registration and the issuing of clearing and forwarding agent licences.

“This was the start for the directorate of customs to embark on a new policy in line with international practices that took into account the World Customs Organisation's standards. Clearing agents are regarded as an integral and critical part in the supply chain in offering arrangements in import and export solutions for intended goods for home consumption, warehousing, transit and distribution,” Gawanas said.

The deputy director for trade facilities, Susan Beukes, highlighted a number of changes regarding the registration of clearing and forwarding agents, adding that there are currently 343 such agents in the country.

Amongst others, the proposed requirements include that all clearing agents' current or new applications must be a juristic person (be 80% Namibian owned), and must be a citizen with a clear code of conduct certificate from the police, whether local or international.

Applicants also need to furnish evidence of proficiency in customs-related matters and provide proof of established premises. Upon arrival, a N$20 000 bond needs to be paid, proof of a fitness certificate is required and a N$2 000 non-refundable application fee needs to be paid.



Not transferrable

When a licence is approved, it is not transferrable, Beukes said.

“Applicants need to be registered with the Financial Intelligence Centre and no third party is allowed to use the licence. Operations may not take place outside Namibian boundaries and failure to adhere will result in revocation.

Agents must use the declarant code at all times and must inform customs if operations are ceased within seven days.”

Beukes said the current licence for clearing and forwarding agents remains valid until 31 December, and the new application process will commence on 1 September.

A competency test will also be carried out.

For more information, the live stream session is available on the finance ministry's Facebook page.

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