Lesotho benefits from lower trade costs for imports, exports


  • The SACU region’s AEO traders will gain from accelerated controls and decreased administrative costs for customs clearance
  • AEOs are entitled to specific incentives to help support their enterprises


MASERU – The five South African Customs Union (SACU) members recently inked a Mutual Recognition Arrangement, which will assist Lesotho by lowering trade costs and accelerating import and export turnaround times.  Together with the other four nations including Botswana, Namibia, South-Africa, and Eswatini, Lesotho is a member of SACU. Established in 1910, SACU is the oldest customs union in the world and regional economic body for Africa.

The five member states uphold a uniform external tariff, split customs income, and coordinate trade-related policies and decisions.  The chiefs of the revenue administrations in these nations have agreed to recognise each other’s Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) status-awarded importers and exporters.

The SACU region’s AEO traders will gain from accelerated controls and decreased administrative costs for customs clearance. One of the most prominent customs business partnerships is the AEO initiative.  Both sides win since it gives customs officials a chance to delegate some of their compliance and security obligations to the private sector while also compensating them with a number of trade facilitation advantages. Such trade partnership projects will enable revenue administrations to do more with less work, with the aim of securing long-term voluntary compliance through incentives.

These AEOs are thus entitled to specific incentives to help support their enterprises in exchange for maintaining high-quality internal operational procedures and having a suitable compliance record.

“The AEO programme has now been mutually recognised by SACU so that these benefits can extend to compliant and accredited businesses to operate seamlessly across borders between member states,” the Executive Secretary of SACU, Thabo Khasipe, said. The AEO project backs a global model of compliance that strives for a system of greater voluntary compliance. As a result, traders who choose to be compliant must receive greater support from customs.

In order to secure the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, the leaders of the SACU revenue administrations pledged to do everything in their power to promote cross-regional trade, taking advantage of all opportunities and remaining vigilant to address all threats.

“It is in our hands as leaders of SACU Revenue Administrations to play a key role in significantly reducing the stubborn residue of poverty, inequality, and unemployment among our people in our region and beyond,” they said. The SACU leaders further stated that they embrace partnerships as a means of collaborating with and through others to enhance the overall trade ecosystem and encourage voluntary compliance. To enhance trade facilitation, the member states have devised a comprehensive plan. In order for the region to provide economic benefits to all of its residents, Khasipe asked businesses to collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner through the AEO initiative.  “This is a VIP system for trade in the region that can assist in developing the region,” he added.

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