01 March 2024

14th SACU Commission Meeting, Windhoek, Namibia - Opening Remarks By The Chairperson Of Commission, Dr. T. Nyamadzabo, Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Finance And Development Planning, Botswana

4 December 2007

Windhoek, Namibia

Madam Executive Secretary,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start off by welcoming you all to this 14th SACU Commission meeting. At the outset let me take this opportunity to thank the Government of the Republic of Namibia for the cordial reception extended to all of us, since our arrival. The arrangements made for this meeting assist us to do our work in an excellent atmosphere.

As you may be aware, this is the last meeting of the year and the issues before us are complex and many. It is my wish that we go through the agenda with haste but at the same time give adequate time for the discussion of the issues. I am sure that with your cooperation, we shall be able to make good time and deliver a report to Council, which we shall all be proud of.

This meeting takes place at a time when there are major challenges facing the Organization. In November 2007, the SADC Ministerial Task Force on Regional Integration met in Lusaka, Zambia to consider the final report on the establishment of the SADC Customs Union. We all are aware of the implications that a SADC Customs Union may have on SACU, as all SACU Member States are also Member States of SADC. During the same month of November 2007, many of us met in Brussels, wearing a different hat, during the final negotiations of the SADC Economic Partnership Agreement. We all are aware of how difficult these negotiations were. The result of these negotiations has implications on SACU.

It would appear that the year 2007 was a particularly difficult year for SACU as a number of very difficult negotiations had to be concluded. However this should not deter us as a Union. We need to draw strength from these challenges and focus more on our goal of becoming a better Customs Union that can deliver on its mandate of economic growth and development. I would therefore encourage all of us to look forward to the New Year and focus on consolidating our Organization by addressing some of the weaknesses in the operations of our Union.

As indicated earlier, our Agenda for this meeting is quite daunting however there are very important issues both from a trade and finance perspective. This is the time of the year where we determine the allocation of shares from the Common Revenue Pool. As we proceed with this, I hope we will also make headway on the related topic on the management of the Common Revenue Pool. On the trade side, we will receive an update on ongoing trade negotiations and some update on the development of an Annex on the Common Negotiating Mechanism.

Without further ado, I would like to wish you fruitful deliberations.

I thank you.