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18 September 2019

30th SACU Council of Ministers Meeting tobe held at Safari Conference Centre Windhoek, Namibia, 28 June 2013

26 June 2013

Windhoek, Namibia:- On Friday 28 June, 2013 the SACU Council of Ministers’ will be meeting at the Safari Court Conference room in Windhoek, Namibia. This will be the 30th meeting of the SACU Council of Ministers’ following the coming into force of the SACU Agreement on 15th July 2004. The Council of Ministers meetings are held quarterly, and are presided by Commission meetings, a body comprising of Senior Government Officials from all Member States.

The SACU Council of Ministers comprises Ministers of Finance, Trade and Industry from the five SACU Member States namely Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Under the SACU Agreement, 2002 The Council is currently the highest decision making authority on all SACU matters. A new development in the structure has been the institutionalization of the Summit of the SACU Heads of State and Government, which will assume supremacy status.

Some of the issues for consideration during the meeting of the Council will include the following:

1. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY’S REPORT

The Council will receive the report of the Executive Secretary, which focused on issues relating to the functioning of the Secretariat and proposals for the planned Ministerial Strategic Session scheduled to take place during the September 2013, Council Meeting.

2. UPDATE ON THE REVIEW OF THE REVENUE SHARING ARRANGEMENT

The Council of Ministers will receive a report on the Review of the Revenue Sharing Arrangement which considered Member States proposals on a new revenue sharing arrangement, and the use of the variation of Leith model to estimate the cost raising/lowering effect in Member States.

CONSIDERATION OF THE DRAFT ANNEX ON THE MANAGEMENT OF THE COMMON REVENUE POOL

Council will also receive an update on the development of the Annex for the Management of the CRP and noted that the joint Meeting of the SACU Legal and Finance Experts was held on the 5th June 2013, in Johannesburg South Africa to consider the draft Annex.

3. UPDATE ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SACU TARIFF BOARD

The Council of Ministers will receive an update report on the progress made by Member States in establishing their National Bodies as a precursor to the Establishment of the SACU Tariff Board. In this regard:

  1. The Republic of Botswana reported that a Bill that would give effect to the establishment of her National Body, the Botswana Trade Commission Bill (No. 8 of 2013), had been gazetted and that the Bill would be considered by Parliament at its July 2013 sitting;
  2. The Kingdom of Lesotho advised that an instruction to draft a Bill had been given and that it has been given priority status.
  3. Namibia indicated that her National Body draft Bill was in the process of being revised, and that it would enter the Parliamentary process during 2013;
  4. Swaziland stated that a Bill had been presented to the Swazi Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Commerce, Industry and Trade. The draft Bill, the Southern African Customs Union Agreement (Implementation) Bill (No 3 of 2012), is yet be tabled in the House.

The Council of Minster’s also noted that all Member States indicated that they anticipated that legislation giving effect to their National Bodies would be in place by December 2013. Other issues include the nomination and appointment of Board Members, their remuneration as well as their Code of Conduct while serving as Members of the SACU Tariff Board.

4. UPDATE ON SACU TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

COMESA-EAC-SADC TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The Council of Ministers will receive reports on the outcomes of the 7th COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Trade Negotiating Forum (TTNF) meeting, and the 3rd meetings of the three Tripartite Technical Working Groups (TWG’s) on Customs Cooperation, Documentation, Procedures and Transit Instruments; Rules of Origin; and SPS/TBT/NTBs, which were held from 6-10 May 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda.

SADC-EC EPA NEGOTIATIONS

The Council will receive a report on the Ministers of the SADC EPA Group Ministerial meeting of 20 May 2013 in Gaborone, Botswana. Ministers provided guidance to the SADC-EC EPA negotiating team on the different areas under consideration:

  1. Ministers noted the EC decision to withdraw the Market Access Regulation 1528/2007 with effect of 1 November 2013. Ministers agreed that the aim should be to conclude negotiations as quickly as possible to ensure uninterrupted market access to the EU. At the same time, Senior Officials should engage the EC on this matter to seek clarity on what is required to implement the EPA provisionally.
  2. The Council of Ministers will also receive a report on the outcome of the Negotiating Round that took place in Brussels from 18 – 21 June 2013.

5. UPDATE ON THE WORK OF THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY TASK TEAM

At its 28th meeting held in Swakopmund, Namibia, in December 2012, The Council of Ministers noted that the Industrial Development Policy Task Team (IDPTT) had agreed that the Secretariat would undertake consultations with the SADC-DFRC and SACU DFIs to assess whether they would be able to assist with the current work on cross-border value chains.

The Council received a report that the Secretariat together with selected members of the Task Team in Member States undertook consultative visits to the SADC-DFRC and SACU DFIs from 4 - 11 February 2013. The main findings resulting from these visits were as follows:

  1. DFIs expressed interest to support the SACU initiative as they deemed it of importance to the region, despite some of them facing challenges related to limited technical, human and financial resources.
  2. DFIs advised that preliminary work should be undertaken by Member States to guide the process and to concretise project proposals before they could be approached for assistance.
  3. DFIs emphasised the importance of co-financing in the region and the involvement of the private sector.

Following discussions of the Task Team at a meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa on 12 March 2013 on the outcome of the consultative visits, the Task Team has agreed to undertake further national consultations in collaboration with DFIs. This national consultation process would entail the involvement of the DFIs in the value chains analysis and the development of bankable pilot projects. The Member States’ reports on value chain analysis will be considered by the Task Team in order to identify pilot project(s) in the five priority areas of dairy, meat, leather, fruit and vegetables and the automotive sector

6. PROGRESS REPORT ON THE TRADE FACILITATION PROGRAMME

On the Trade Facilitation Programme, the Council of Ministers will receive a progress report, which highlights progress achieved in the areas of Enforcement and Risk Management, Trade Partnerships, IT Connectivity and Transport.

The Council will also receive a report on deliberations by SACU Transport Officials, which noted the evolving nature of the discussion on SACU transport matters and observed the need to involve SACU Transport Ministers. In their deliberations, Senior Transport Officials noted that a number of transport policy and legislative issues are being raised in the context of the work programme. The Senior Transport Officials therefore recommended that a meeting of SACU Transport Ministers be convened to consider and provide strategic guidance as SACU begins implementation of the Transport programme.

7. UPDATE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON TRADE IN SERVICES

The Council will receive a report of a meeting of the SACU Legal Experts and the Task Team on Trade in Services, which took place on the 4th June 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa, to consider the Concept Paper on the “Options for a possible legal framework for Trade in Services in SACU”. The Concept Paper identified the following options: using the SADC services framework to take SACU services liberalisation forward; development of SACU specific and predictable disciplines; Capacity Building; Exchange of information/trade in Services data; harmonisation of regulations; cooperation in service related issues to promote an attractive and stable environment for the supply of services; negotiating with third parties as individual countries; and negotiating with third parties as a bloc.

8. REPORT OF THE FINANCE AND AUDIT COMMITTEE

The Council will receive a report on the SACU Secretariat Management Accounts for the twelve month period ended 31 March 2013. Council will also receive a report on the Internal Audit Report as well as the progress of the Secretariat Records Management Policy.

9. REPORT OF THE TASK TEAM ON THE SACU HEADQUARTERS BUILDING

The Council will receive a progress report on the construction of the SACU Headquarters Building project. The Council will note the development that a Clerk of Works was appointed to closely monitor the progress of the project and provide an update on previously raised issues. The project is on schedule for completion within cost, time and quality. The Council of Ministers will conclude their meeting with a tour of the SACU Headquarters building construction site. The site visit is scheduled to take place on Friday 28 June 2013, at 1500hrs.

10. ROTATION OF THE CHAIRING OF MEETINGS OF SACU INSTITUTIONS

The Council of Ministers will receive a report on the rotation of the chairing of Meetings of SACU Institutions. The Republic of Botswana’s term of office as the Chair of the Council and the Commission would be ending on 14 July 2013 and the Kingdom of Lesotho would be assuming the Chair on 15 July 2013. The Kingdom of Lesotho’s term of office as the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee would be ending on 14 July 2013 and the Republic of Namibia would be assuming the Chair on 15 July 2013.

SACU Secretariat
Windhoek
Namibia
Tel: + 264 61 295 8040
Fax: + 264 61 305 621
Mobile: +264 81 122 9499