Truck gridlock at Buitepos because of staff shortage

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) has a shortage of staff at the customs and excise unit at the Buitepos border post on the Trans Kalahari.

This has led to the truck gridlock experience in recent weeks at the border post.
NamRa spokesperson, Tonateni Shidhudhu told the Windhoek Observer that they have noticed in increase in the number of imports through the Trans Kalahari border post in recent weeks, resulting in long queues processed at a snail’s pace.
The gridlock, he says, is due to the risk assessment profile of consignments passing through the border post, which requires a 100 percent scanning of all trucks with a limited staff base. Also there is also only one scanner.

‘’NamRA is working on fast tracking the recruitment process to ensure the required work force. As a long term solution, discussions are underway to expand the border post and cater for more parking space,’’ Shidhudhu said.
There are fears that the truck congestion may negatively affect the use of the Trans Kalahari as an import route by landlocked countries, who may choose alternative routes for their exports and may also compromise the country’s ambition to be number one transport hub in the region.
Shidhudhu said that at the moment they have noted the concern and they are working on solutions to handle the increased inflow of imports.
‘’We are aware of the situation and are now seized with the matter to find a solution,’’ said
Shidhudhu.
The Windhoek Observer is informed that the two other border points at Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei both entry points between Namibia and South Africa have also been identified where consignments with high risk profile are passing through.
According to NamRA’s website, the agency is established as a semi-autonomous revenue agency under the supervision and direction of the Minister of Finance, the majority of the staff complement were derived from the Ministry, and the Commissioner Sam Shivute recently announced that the recruitment process has gained momentum.
‘’Our drive to accelerate mass recruitment remains on track, chasing the 30 September 2022 target date. I therefore encourage all seconded staff members to prepare and apply for the various positions on the NamRA structure as they are being advertised,’’ he had stated.
Meanwhile, a branch controller of a safety wear store in the Capital who chose to remain anonymous said that the gridlock has however not had an impact on their consignments coming through the Buitepos border.

‘’On Tuesday I gave through a pick up and it arrived this afternoon at 14h00,’’ she said, adding that
when border documents from the supplier and internal documents are in order, there are not many delays.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) requires members to adopt or maintain procedures allowing for the submission of import documentation and other required information, including manifest, to begin processing prior to the arrival of goods with a view to expediting the release of goods upon arrival.
This provision must be viewed together with Standard 3.25 of the World Customs Organisation’s (WCO’s) International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures which provides that customs administrations shall allow the lodging and registering of goods declarations and supporting documents prior to the arrival of goods.

By Observer