The ministry of finance, and customs and excise recently issued two important announcements on the following topics: Importer/exporter must appoint a clearing agent in writing, and clearing agents must submit applications for licensing before 31 December 2020.
The Customs and Excise Act, Act No. 20 of 1998 provides that the importer’s written clearing instructions must be attached to the bill of entry (customs declaration).
This has not been strictly enforced by Customs and Excise Namibia and a memorandum dated 13 July 2020 was addressed to all customs offices, clearing agents, carriers and importers/exporters seems to clarify an earlier internal memorandum dated 17 June 2020 by Customs and Excise Namibia informing customs offices in Namibia to only clear consignments accompanied by a written clearing instruction form as from 1 July 2020.
The uncertainties and apparent delays caused by the earlier communication, which required that the written instruction by importers/exporters should be submitted to the Customs clearing office for each consignment, caused Customs to issue the clarification memorandum.
A power of attorney, which is valid for 12 months, is now also acceptable and must be attached to the customs declaration form (SAD 500).
Declarations for unaccompanied passenger goods, import of household furniture, airfreight imports of less than N$500 and direct trader input declarations (where the importer/exporter submits its own declarations) are exempt from the requirement of providing written instructions or a power of attorney.
It is anticipated that fraudulent or careless use of import account numbers belonging to registered importers by clearing agents will be better controlled through the implementation of the above Customs communications.
The executive director of the ministry of finance issued a media release on 22 July 2020 informing clearing agents that current licenses will expire on 31 December 2020. New clearing agent registrations will be effective as from 1 January 2021.
The requirements for approval as a clearing agent are:
- Juristic person with at least 80% Namibian-owned,
- Natural person submitting a police code of conduct certificate,
- Proficiency in Customs related matters must be provided,
- Proof of established premises,
- Customs bond of N$20 000,
- Fitness certificate issued by local authority, and
- N$2 000 (non-refundable) application fee
Applications forms are available at the Customs Information Centre, Moltke Street and should be submitted at the same office.
Workshops and information sessions are envisaged by Customs Namibia for current and aspiring clearing agents on the above requirements.