Friday, January 22, 2021

Botswana remains committed to SACU despite hiccups

While she could not be drawn into discussing the outcome of the just ended Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Ministerial meeting, Botswana’s Trade and Investment Minister has said that the country, “remain committed to the SACU agenda, regional integration and development agenda rooted in fairness and win-win for all parties involved”.

The meeting, which was held at the SACU head-offices in Windhoek, Namibia, was part of the ongoing negotiations amongst the five member states ÔÇô Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and ESwatini.

“I cannot comment on the proceedings of our SACU council meetings, we are negotiating’, Kenewendo said from Namibia. 

The youthful minister however cautioned other member states of the need to balance national interests and regional integration aspirations. 

The meeting which was attended by SACU ministers responsible for Finance and Trade ended on Friday with no progress registered according to sources.

Insiders who were present at the Windhoek meeting indicated that South Africa – the self proclaimed big brother amongst the members states is pushing for a bigger slice of the revenue. The Neighbours are however said to have faced a wall of resistance from others four members who view the proposal as unfair.

“Oddly, South Africa also says the revenue-sharing agreement is unjust as they pay large amounts in customs revenue to other member states every year”, said a source on Friday.

 

The contentious revenue sharing formula has three parts, that is, customs, development and excise. Allocation of customs is based on each member country’s share of intra-SACU imports, while excise is derived from each member’s share of the gross domestic product.

Another deadlock is said to have been reached over the architecture for tariff setting. Insiders say that all SACU member states except SA insist on implementing a 2002 agreement, which would see each country have its own tariff-setting board.

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