Export/import documentation taking forever … as cross-border trade suffers
The country is not doing well as far as oiling cross-border trade is concerned and fell from a global position of 123 to 136 and ranks ninth out of 16 SADC member states on ease of trade across borders.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) disclosed in its latest economic watch that it required 90 hours to comply with export documentation.
It also said that it needed three hours to comply with import documentation in Namibia compared to one hour each for import and export documentation in Lesotho.
These startling realities come at the back of the sitting finance minister’s call for accelerated intra-Africa and regional trade to jump-frog the local economy.
“If Namibia wants to achieve her ambition to become the logistics hub of Southern Africa, the administrative processes involved in international trade need to be streamlined,” said IPPR.
The think-tank added that the implementation of an e-filing and e-sharing platform by NamPort would go a long way of accelerating procedures.
In the pursuit to be a beneficiary and active participant of the fourth industrial revolution, the advice is that further efforts are, however, required to remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and to enhance Namibia’s readiness for this dispensation.
Said IPPR, “These efforts should start with a thorough analysis of the results by all institutions involved and result in an implementable strategy with clear timelines to address the weaknesses and support the strengths even further.”
“Institutions involved in the process of approving new business registrations need to jointly accelerate the implementation of a one-stop facility. In addition, these institutions need to apply new technologies and platforms that facilitate the submission of digital files replacing hard copies.”
While government institutions have to lead the process, close cooperation with the private sector has been regarded as necessary.
IPPR also advised that in order to ease regional and international trade, the government could take the lead in coordinating efforts on the regional level to harmonise documentation as well as to ensure border posts are connected to electricity and ICT services.
“In order to equip learners for the technological challenges ahead, connecting all schools to electricity and ICT services has to become a priority,” said the economic research institution.
On the economic front, IPPR said Namibia needs to act on domestic shortcomings such as teething problems with the new Procurement Act that resulted in an execution rate for capital projects during the first half of the Financial Year 2018/19 of 27%.
According to the research centre, this partly explained the poor economic performance so far this year.
“Additional efforts by the private and public sectors are needed to support domestic businesses that offer goods and services at competitive price and quality levels (the Ministry of Finance took the right step by cancelling tenders with specifications that favoured foreign suppliers) as well as to identify products and services that could be supplied domestically,” said IPPR.