Namibia takes over SACU chairpersonship

Namibia officially assumed the chairpersonship on the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) Council of Ministers here on Thursday.

The role of SACU is to bring opportunities presented by regional integration through national development ambitions, by accelerating economic gains in member states such as the ease of doing business across the customs area, free trade and unhindered movement of people.

Minister of Finance, CalleSchlettwein took over the chairpersonship of the SACU Council of Ministers from outgoing chair and Minister of Finance DrMoeketsiMajoro from Lesotho.

The Union aspires to be an engine for regional integration and development, industrial and economic diversification, the expansion of intra-regional trade and investment and boosting its competitiveness within the global economy.

Schlettwein said SACU economies are experiencing headwinds emanating from a constellation of external shocks such prevailing drought and downside risks on global trade as well as productive constraints within the region.

'These external and regional factors limit our ambition to achieve broad-based poverty reduction, the creation of jobs and achieving shared prosperity for all in the shortest time possible,' the minister said.

Among the issues on the agenda of the Council will focus on over the next 12 months is the 2002 SACU Agreement which offers relevant framework for the Union to advance its developmental ambitions, in addition to the integration of southern African economies within the customs area.

Handing over its chairpersonship to Namibia, Lesotho's Minister of Finance, DrMoeketsiMajoro said the main focus of the Council during Lesotho's term of office has been the implementation process of the Work Programme for the Ministerial Task Teams.

'There is an urgency now to keep the momentum going and expedite the implementation process, to ensure the successful conclusion of the agreed work,' Majoro said.

President HageGeingob will chair the SACU Summit and Schlettwein, the SACU Council of Ministers, while MoF's Executive Director EricahShafudah takes over as chairperson of the SACU Commission.

Source: Namibia Press Agency