Newly appointed SACU Executive Secretary meets Pohamba

WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba has assured the newly appointed Executive Secretary designate of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) that the Government of Namibia is ready to assist her in her work.

President Pohamba made this remark during his meeting with Paulina Elago, who has been appointed to head SACU for the next five years as the second Executive Secretary, succeeding Tswelopele Moremi. Moremi’s term of office came to an end in January this year after she held the position since January 2004.

“Let me express how happy Namibia is to have our citizen taking over the administration and all in our SACU organisation, of which we have the honour to host its headquarters here,” he said.

He encouraged Elago not to hesitate to contact the line ministry, which is the Ministry of Finance, if the need arises, in order to exchange views.

“The Minister of Finance is at your disposal and I want you also to put yourself at her disposal to exchange views as well. Should you find yourself in difficulties you do not have to hesitate to go and see her,” he said, adding that the Office of the President is also open to Elago should she require its services.

In her response, the Executive Secretary assured the President that she will work closely with the Finance Ministry to address issues as they may arise.

“I must say that since I took over the office, I really enjoyed good support and cooperation from the minister and I certainly continue to work with her and her office in addressing the issues that are coming up,” she noted

Elago said SACU faces a critical stage, and SACU secretariat members are looking at various developments that are taking place in the region and across the world.

“It is important that we set ourselves a clear agenda, and I believe the Heads of States and Government have given us the directives within which to operate and clear priorities which really make my work, in a way, easier in terms of following those priorities,” she added.

Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and her Permanent Secretary Ericah Shafuda, who accompanied the Executive Secretary to State House in order to introduce her to Pohamba, said Namibia was accorded an additional honour besides the hosting of the headquarters of SACU by having one of her citizens designated as the second Executive Secretary of SACU.

“Previously, she was a civil servant of the Government in the Ministry of Trade and Industry where she worked as a Director for International Trade, which I think has given her the necessary exposure and experience to be able to take up the position as Executive Secretary for SACU at such a critical time when the organisation is not only engaged with transformation, but as a group and region, also has to be engaged with the international community on every critical and challenging issue requiring that we mobilise ourselves optimally,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

Prior to her appointment as SACU Executive Secretary, Elago served as country director for Tanzania for Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), where she was responsible for designing, managing and implementing TMEA Tanzania’s multi-million dollar country programme designed to support implementation of East African Community (EAC) regional integration frameworks, improving intra-regional trade and trade competitiveness through improved trade facilitation, streamlined procedures and infrastructure development

Elago has over 20 years of professional experience in international trade, primarily trade policy, regional integration, trade facilitation, investment, environment reforms, trade related capacity building and trade related infrastructure development.