By Hilary Mare
A recent Cabinet brief mandated Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein to expedite the process of establishing a one-stop border post by immediately engaging South Africa on cooperation in view of its establishment.
Cabinet also instructed Schlettwein to ensure that negotiations on the double taxation agreement be expedited and that the process of signing an amended bilateral monetary agreement in 2017 with South Africa be reinitiated.
This resolution barely comes a month after Schlettwein affirmed that Namibia was on course to ensure at least one one-stop border materialises in 2017.
“We are looking to establish at least one one-stop border as soon as possible this year,” he said.
The idea to establish a one stop border has been on the cards for a long time and in 2014 through the National Planning Commission, Government had announced that it will continue to pursue various international and bilateral agreements in setting one-stop border posts to ensure the flow of cross-border trade is as efficient as possible, and to address sabotage concerns.
Essentially Government, with technical support from the Government of Japan, commissioned the Project on Master Plan for Development of an International Logistics Hub for SADC Countries in the Republic of Namibia – ‘Namibia Logistics Master Plan’.
The National Logistics Master Plan, which is a component of the Transport Master Plan, has aimed to establish a development framework and strategies to make Namibia the regional logistics centre in the SADC Region.
The draft master plan also warned of other adversaries that may impact
the birth of the logistics hub with keen interest to unknown risks.
“Even though there are problems associated with the main gateways used at present – Durban and Dar es Salaam – Namibia’s logistics sector is still an unknown risk for international business people.
“ Imp l e m e n t a tion of the project is likely to cause both positive and negative impacts on the natural and socioeconomic environments of Namibia. This strategic Environmental Assessment is being conducted to identify such impacts and to incorporate possible measures to mitigate negative impacts of the Master Plan,” the report says.
Aiding the support of a one stop border is the new container terminal in Walvis Bay Port which is expected to be fully operational by early 2018 and will expand its handling capacity from 350 000 twenty-feet equivalent units (TEU) to 800 000 TEU per year.
Subsequently cargo generation, which is the sum of cargo production and the attraction of Windhoek, in 2025 is estimated to be 1,8 times higher than in 2011 (38 000 tonnes
per day), and in 2045 will be 5,1 times higher than in 2011 (106 000 tonnes per day).
Cargo volume to the landlocked areas of SADC is expected to increase from 12 percent in 2013 to 20 percent in 2025. This represents an increase from 0,8 million tonnes to 3,6 million tonnes in 2025.
By the year 2045, the target is set for 22 percent, equivalent to 14,5 million tonnes.
If the expected growth in cargo happens, the proportion of transport and storage to GDP will increase from 2,5 percent to 4,6 percent in 2025, making logistics one of the major industries in Namibia. Employment in this sector will more than double, going from about 26 000 at present to about 58 000 in 2025.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015