Namibia: 'Reduce Red Tape At Borders'

THE Private Sector Task Team on Covid-19 has called for faster customs and immigration clearance at border posts for truck drivers.

The team made this demand in a statement issued by its spokesperson Charity Mwiya on Monday.

They called for an efficient processing and clearance of vehicles at weighbridges and roadblocks so that drivers can get to their delivery destinations, with minimum delay to ensure that trade and access to basics foodstuffs, medicines, and other essential commodities, and supporting services continue with minimal disruption.

The team made the call to highlight the challenges in bringing essential goods into the country for restocking.

Mwiya said since the lockdown started, three major challenges have emerged and one them is "entry into Namibia of essential goods and onward delivery to intended destinations without compromising health and safety of truck drivers or the people of Namibia".

The call comes at a time most people are panic-buying to stock up goods in fear of shortages in the country, which is highly dependent on South Africa for food supplies and other necessities.

The team also advised transport operators to train their drivers on health and safety issues and expressed concerns that the call for people to stay at home and to observe social distancing had not been observed and called for social-distancing enforcement at retail outlets.

"The police must be deployed to help owners and managers eliminate crowding, pushing, shoving and unsocial behaviour," Mwiya said, adding that law enforcement agents must be visible, helpful, courteous and sympathetic.

The team also recommended that urban transport services must be available 24/7 during the lockdown and urged taxi owners' unions to urgently come up with ways of dealing with this requirement.

The team also called for support for residents of informal settlements and advised those wishing to make a donation, to deposit funds into the National Disaster Fund: Covid-19 account at First National Bank. This account was set up by the government and is overseen by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Donations of items like water tanks, water, cleaning, and personal hygiene materials, canned or tinned foodstuff, milk powder, sugar, tea and jam, blankets, are also welcome, Mwiya said.

So far, companies including MTC, Old Mutual, Namdia, Namibia Stock Exchange and Standard Bank Namibia have chipped in to help residents of informal settlements.

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