Sacu head office soon to set up in Windhoek

Sacu head office soon to set up in Windhoek

THE Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) is preparing to set up its head office in Windhoek.

The head office in Windhoek was mandated in a new agreement signed last year, which also sets out a new revenue-sharing formula and more democratic decision-making processes. Finance Permanent Secretary Calle Schlettwein told The Namibian late last week that Sacu’s Executive Secretary-designate, Connie Moreni, was to arrive in Windhoek on Sunday, with a mandate to begin setting up the head office.But, said Schlettwein, this process may not be completely finished until December.Under the old agreement, Sacu was run out of the South African Finance Ministry, and South Africa called most of the shots in the organisation, which groups the regional economic powerhouse with Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.One of the reasons setting up the head office may take so long is because the Council of Ministers envisaged in the new deal still has to meet to determine a range of operational issues.Schlettwein said these included quotas of staff to be employed from each of the five states, the budget for salary packages, organisational structures, and responsibilities of all states.The next council meeting is scheduled for next month, by which time all the regional parliaments should have ratified the treaty.The Sacu offices will initially be in buildings owned by the Government of Namibia, before the organisation buys or constructs its own in due course.”It is going to be a phased-in process,” Schlettwein said on Friday.Namibia’s revenue from Sacu is expected to fall over the next few years, despite the new agreement’s formulas, as trade tariffs are gradually being lowered in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements.Sacu hopes to conclude a free trade agreement with the US by the end of this year.Finance Permanent Secretary Calle Schlettwein told The Namibian late last week that Sacu’s Executive Secretary-designate, Connie Moreni, was to arrive in Windhoek on Sunday, with a mandate to begin setting up the head office. But, said Schlettwein, this process may not be completely finished until December. Under the old agreement, Sacu was run out of the South African Finance Ministry, and South Africa called most of the shots in the organisation, which groups the regional economic powerhouse with Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho. One of the reasons setting up the head office may take so long is because the Council of Ministers envisaged in the new deal still has to meet to determine a range of operational issues. Schlettwein said these included quotas of staff to be employed from each of the five states, the budget for salary packages, organisational structures, and responsibilities of all states. The next council meeting is scheduled for next month, by which time all the regional parliaments should have ratified the treaty. The Sacu offices will initially be in buildings owned by the Government of Namibia, before the organisation buys or constructs its own in due course. “It is going to be a phased-in process,” Schlettwein said on Friday. Namibia’s revenue from Sacu is expected to fall over the next few years, despite the new agreement’s formulas, as trade tariffs are gradually being lowered in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements. Sacu hopes to conclude a free trade agreement with the US by the end of this year.

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