Windhoek-Namibian Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi has taken the fight against contraband goods entering the country as well as stamping illicit financial flows to another level after launching a sophisticated container terminal at Walvis Bay Port.
Shiimi said the container control terminal partly funded by the United States of America as well as aided by the European Union is a milestone in the implementation of the Customs Modernisation Programme and strengthening compliance with trade facilitation requirements, and realizing vision in being a World-class logistic hub and yet a leader in combating illicit trade drug trafficking.
“This event is taking place at a time when the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. The Pandemic continues to disrupt global activities across all the economic sectors and industries.
“Governments across the globe continue to implement lockdown and border closure measures in a bid to contain the spread of the Pandemic. This has resulted in logistical constraints, slowed business and trade activities, and has resulted in a reduction of cross border trade and the movement of people, and in some cases halted production,” Shiimi said.
The Namibian Minister said despite the challenges and limitations that have arisen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Namibia Revenue Agency together with other Law Enforcement Agencies have worked tirelessly to make sure Namibia doe not lose on potential revenue at ports of entry.
“The Container Control Programme (CCP) was developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Customs Organization (WCO) to assist governments to create sustainable enforcement structures in selected seaports with the aim, to minimize the risk of maritime containers being exploited, to deter and combat illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crimes and other forms of illicit activity and to facilitate the legitimate trade,” he said.
Shiimi said the new container terminal at the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay, constructed between 2014 and 2019, gives the country a high-end port facility with a carrying capacity from 355,000 to 750,000 (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit-TEU).
He said this has aided in realising the goal Walvis Bay moves towards becoming a logistics hub for Southern Africa, which aims to meet the growing demand for freight while promoting new maritime access to serve the landlocked or destination countries of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
“It is a known fact that the Southern Africa region is beset with the challenges that impact on the pace of movement of cargo, which ultimately affects intra-regional trade levels. I am aware that as part of the implementation of the Unit, we have thus far developed and adopted Governance Frameworks required to strengthen Cooperation and Collaboration,” he said.
He said Namibia is amongst one the first countries in the SADC region to have an operational unit under Container Control.
“It is thus imperative for Law Enforcement Agencies to fully take advantage of the modernization programmes and make substantive inputs that seek to interdict the illegal trade of goods within our trading spectrum. It is only when that happens that the true impact of these instruments and framework can deliver meaningful and sustainable long-term benefits for Namibia,” He said.