The Southern African Customs Union is known as one of the world’s oldest customs union with a history of more than 100 years. With this in mind countries within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom (UK) to support the SACU Custom Modernisation Programme. SACU said the programme seeks to strengthen collaboration and enhance administrative efficiency amongst customs administrations in the SACU member states whom are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. The primary aim of the programme is to enhance efficiency in order to facilitate cross-border movement of goods while securing borders to curb the scourge of illicit trade, as well as to ensure seamless movement of legitimate trade. The programme also aims to promote traders’ compliance with the national laws and policies, it said. According to SACU, the support from the UK will assist SACU member states to fully implement the above critical regional tools and frameworks. “It is envisaged that upon full implementation of the SACU Customs Modernisation Programme, the SACU region will benefit from amongst others, reduced costs, predictability and transparency, improved co-operation and collaboration with various stakeholders, increased competitiveness and sustainable customs reform and modernization efforts in the region,” it said. For the private sector, the benefits that will accrue in the long term include reduction in the transaction costs associated with border crossings, and enhanced competitiveness of business which encourages new investments.
Edited and compiled by Ndapewa Amunyela