The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), in association with Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), has launched the Preferred Trader Programme (PTP) and certified eight new enterprises for it. Lesotho is the third Sacu country, after South Africa and eSwatini, to launch it.
The Sacu secretariat stated that enterprises accredited for this programme enjoy a couple of customary benefits while trading across the borders of these five countries. These include reduction of the amount of security required for compliance with a customs procedure, fewer routine documentary and physical inspections, prioritising a request for tariff and customs valuation determinations, and prioritising access to non-intrusive inspection techniques when goods are stopped or detained for inspection.
The main objective of the PTP is to move away from the traditional customs gate-keeper approach to a more risk-based approach. Compliant traders will receive benefits as stipulated in legislation for accredited clients. This will reduce the frustrations and the costs that can be incurred by traders who are operating in the global market.
The remaining two Sacu members, Botswana and Namibia, are set to implement the PTP by the end of March.
Riaan de Lange