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Namibia hopes to increase its contributions to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) pool and, in return, increase its revenue share.

This follows the extension of the operating hours at the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno Border Post in the Omaheke Region.

The extension of operating hours at the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno Border Post stems from more than 20 decisions taken during the inaugural Botswana-Namibia Bi-National Commission meeting held last year.

President Hage Geingob and his counterpart, Mokgweetsi Masisi, directed the implementing agencies, the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), to act swiftly and have the operating hours extended.

"In the past, we had instances where trucks would come from SA or Botswana, and when they got to the border, they were closed, which meant goods were delayed for the consumer, and time is money," said Sam Shivute, NamRA CEO and Commissioner.

The 24-hour shifts started at the border post, which, being the busiest between the two countries, processes on average up to 225 trucks per day.

In 2022, the total value of imports recorded through the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno Border Post stood at N$25.2 billion, while the value of exports to South Africa was recorded at N$9 billion.

Namibia hopes to increase its contributions to the SACU pool and rake in substantial amounts from SACU.

SACU revenues were 14.2 billion dollars during the 2022–2023 financial year.

"Remember when we talk of revenue, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia are all members of SACU, and as members, all our customs duties are paid in the same pool, and then on a quarterly basis, SACU will share and pay to the member state. But that payment is determined by a formula that is informed by trade statistics, the value of imports from other SACU member states, your GDP, and your population as well. That is why the information that we gather there through our system is very critical because, at the end of the day, the more we have imported from other SACU states, the more we get from the pool," added Shivute.

A Cabinet decision taken in 2009 states that Namibia is considering opening a one-stop border post with its neighbors.

NamRA says discussions thus far are underway with Angola, Zambia, and South Africa.

"We are required to improve service delivery and eliminate barriers to trade, and we are very grateful for the direction we are getting to be able to implement this. I must thank the border agencies, who are all very much aware that the directive given will be implemented without fail."

The extension of operating hours is part of a larger project to transform the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno Border Post into a one-stop shop, which will be launched in May next year.

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Blanche Goreses