Trade ministry recounts 2020 successes

By Hilary Mare

THE Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade has recollected its successes of yesteryear, a year in which the ministry managed to have the National Quality Policy approved by Cabinet and set for launching during the first quarter of 2021.

In a recent statement, the ministry noted that during 2020, Cabinet also approved the business model for the operation of the National Single Window (NSW) initiative. The NSW is an electronic facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit related regulatory requirements.

“Once implemented, it will improve the ease of doing business for domestic and international users. It will also reduce the time and cost in the movement of goods into, through and out of Namibia,” the ministry said adding that work is advanced in online application of import and export permits, through the IMEX system, that are issued by the ministry.

The system is currently being piloted by a sample of users and should be fully rolled out this January.

The ministry also said that it is in the process with the development of Namibia’s Trade in Services Policy.

“The ministry has so far managed to consult all the 14 regions. During the consultation process the regions requested more time in order to provide written inputs, hence the ministry is currently waiting for written submissions/inputs in order to incorporate them in the draft policy,” the ministry said.

As to work regarding international market access, Namibia was able to ratify the SACU Mozambique United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement. This was necessitated by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and consequently to secure market access for Namibian products to the UK market which is worth about N$6 billion of trade in 2018.

“During the pandemic, export restrictions were put in place by several countries. Some of the measures had negative impact on supply of medical and pharmaceutical products into Namibia. Namibia successfully engaged with her neighbours to allow essential services and products to flow unhindered and averted shortage of essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

“The implementation of key projects such as the retail sector charter and the GS1 accredited Bar Code Centre are very vital to ensure that Namibian products find shelf space in local retail shops and to enhance traceability of locally manufactured goods within the global market,” further explained the ministry.

Another highlighted achievement is the amendment of the Credit Agreements Regulation in which the ministry amended the repayment period in respect of motor vehicles from 54 months to 72 months.

“The amendment was necessitated by the fact that the country’s economy, due to the economic downturn, has been contracting and this was compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. The amendment is intended to provide relief to consumers and stimulate the motor vehicle industry. The amendment took effect on 1st September 2020,” the ministry said.

Through the Namibia Competition Commission, the ministry also launched the National Competition Policy 2020-2025. The policy can be broadly defined as a governmental policy that promotes or maintains the level of competition in markets, and includes governmental measures that directly affect the behaviour of enterprises and the structure of industry and markets.

Lastly, the ministry will finalise the National Special Economic Zones Policy and accompanying legislation as soon as the rule making process allows.

“This is to ensure the stimulation of key industrial projects to help drive the economy towards a new growth path”.