Govt clamps down on clearing agents

08 January 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU

WINDHOEK



The government is in the final stage of introducing more stringent rules that clearing agencies must meet in order to be licensed.

The move is aimed at curbing increasing incidents of money laundering, tax evasion and fraud, which cost the country millions in potential tax revenue.

Clearing agents act on behalf of importers and exporters and arrange customs clearance of imported goods.

There are currently 343 active clearing agencies in the country.

Until now, clearing agents were operating in the absence of clear guidelines and some have been caught under-declaring goods.

Under the new regime, it will be compulsory for clearing agents to register with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) before registering with the Customs and Excise Directorate in the ministry of finance.

Licences will not be transferrable between agents and dry ports will from now on only be licensed to clear goods destined for dry ports.

Agents will from now on be expected to be in good standing with the tax man.

Clearing agents with operations outside Namibia will be banned and only those with offices in Namibia will be allowed to operate.

The mandate of the agents expired in December last year but their licences will remain valid until 31 March 2021. The new application process is under way.



Law and order

Ministry of finance spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu yesterday confirmed the changes to the clearing agency industry.

He said the changes were prompted after the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament found that clearing agents were operating without controls at the country's entry points.

“It was agreed in 2014 to review the existing requirements to ensure that the briefcase clearing agents could be ruled out to enhance effective cooperation with border agencies.

“These changes are for the benefit of the country and to a certain extent also needed to bring order in the clearing agency industry,” he said. Shidhudhu said provisions were made for multinational clearing agents. “We have had situations whereby the country lost out on tax revenue because some agents were under-declaring goods,” he said.

He indicated that the most common transgressions committed by clearing agents include misclassification of goods and wrong supporting documentation.

The government has over the years clamped down on clearing agencies and the last time such major changes were considered was in 2012 when the finance ministry banned clearing agents from using guarantees and bonds from third parties as security.

The decision was opposed by clearing agents because it meant they could no longer use a bond or guarantee issued to another clearing agent as security for their goods in transit.

Before the clampdown, clearing agents used to borrow guarantees or bonds, backed by financial or other institutions, from other clearing agents to clear any goods coming through Namport and destined for landlocked countries in SADC.

Similar News

 

Trustco scrambles to meet JSE deadline

21 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUTrustco Holdings Limited is scrambling to finalize and submit its financials as a Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s deadline, less than two weeks away, looms. JSE...

New vehicle sales moving in reverse gear

21 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUVehicle sales contracted by 2.0% year-on-year in December 2020, compared to a contraction of 2.2% year-on-year in December 2019, with 714 units sold in...

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

21 hours ago | Business

Amazon to open two new hubs in Italy Amazon will open two new logistics centres in Italy this year, investing over 230 million euros (US$278...

South African Breweries cancels US$165 mln investment

1 day - 19 January 2021 | Business

South African Breweries, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, has cancelled a further 2.5 billion rand (US$165 million) of investment earmarked for 2021 following a third local...

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

1 day - 19 January 2021 | Business

Twitter locks account of Marjorie GreeneTwitter Inc, on Sunday, locked the account of Republican US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a political newcomer known for promoting...

DBN keen to fast track loan payments SME's

2 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUTo avoid delays in loan payments as previously experienced in other relief packages, the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has a plan to ensure...

Bank Windhoek ranked as the best bank in Namibia

2 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUPSG Namibia’s 2020 Banking Review has again ranked Bank Windhoek as the best bank in the country for the second consecutive year.The ranking system...

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

2 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Business

GM to invest C$1 bln in Canada plant General Motors Co and labour union Unifor said they have reached a tentative deal for the automaker...

Shoprite Tsumeb closed by community members

5 days ago - 15 January 2021 | Business

Trading at Shoprite’s Tsumeb branch was halted by community members Tuesday morning when they joined the striking employees of the shop in their demands for...

Shoprite Tsumeb closed by community members

5 days ago - 15 January 2021 | Business

Trading at Shoprite’s Tsumeb branch was halted by community members Tuesday morning when they joined the striking employees of the shop in their demands for...

Latest News

RTE and Slaughterhouze part ways...

7 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKNamibian record label Remember The Eagle (RTE) Records has agreed to part ways with local group Slaughterhouze.While the group consists of DJ Spuzza,...

Trustco scrambles to meet JSE...

21 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUTrustco Holdings Limited is scrambling to finalize and submit its financials as a Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s deadline, less than two weeks away, looms. JSE...

New vehicle sales moving in...

21 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUVehicle sales contracted by 2.0% year-on-year in December 2020, compared to a contraction of 2.2% year-on-year in December 2019, with 714 units sold in...

Nekongo breaks silence on Fishrot...

21 hours ago | Crime

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKSwapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo yesterday said he did not know that the N$65 000 allegedly deposited into his personal account...

15 350 pupils ‘lost in...

21 hours ago | Education

ESTER KAMATIOTJIWARONGOWith the ministry of education taking a blended approach through online efforts and remote teaching and learning, about 15 350 learners did not return...

Shangula looking beyond Covax for...

21 hours ago | Health

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia is looking beyond the Covax facility to procure additional stock of Covid-19 vaccine, health minister Kalumbi Shangula has said.The Covax facility, an initiative...

Namibia more of a consumer...

21 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUNamibia recorded a trade deficit to the tune of N$1.4 billion in November 2020. The recent figure shows that the deficit improved by...

Going back to the original...

21 hours ago | Opinion

It's not too late to salvage Namibia from the jaws of predatory tendencies threatening our existence as a nation.Think of the ideal Namibia we had...

Groundwater threatened by drilling

21 hours ago | Environment

FRANK STEFFENWINDHOEKIn 2011, a hydrological study dating back to 2001 was republished.Together with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR in Hanover, Germany),...

Load More