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Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) commends Namibia for becoming the first country in SADC to make headway in covid-19 regulations for fully vaccinated truck drivers

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) plays a crucial role in improving trade facilitation in the SADC region and encouraging economic growth by advocating for the removal of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) at the borders.

In WBCG’s continuous quest to reduce the cost of doing business in the region, the Group has been advocating for a change in Covid-19 regulations to reduce congestion and other NTBs, as a result of Covid-19 protocols at the various border posts in Namibia. WBCG’s advocacy and collaborative efforts are starting to pay off, as the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) of Namibia on the 13th January 2022 announced that the regulatory adjustments proposed and advocated by the WBCG and partners within the transport and logistics sector will be effected on Sunday, 16 January 2022.

These adjustments, outlined in number 14.11 (Requirements for Entry in the Country) of the 39th Covid-19 Public Briefing by Honourable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services are as follows:

14.11.1. Fully vaccinated Namibians, Permanent Residents, and Truck Drivers will no longer be required to present a negative PCR test result upon entry into Namibia. The abovementioned categories of people can enter the country at any time with a valid and authentic Vaccination Card.

14.11.2. For all other categories of travelers, including truck drivers who are not fully vaccinated, the validity of a negative PCR COVID-19 test results remains 72 hours from the time of the collection of the specimen to the time the individual presents him/herself at the point of entry into Namibia.

14.11.4. Namibia citizens and permanent residence permit holders who present positive PCR test results at points of entry may be allowed to proceed to the final destination and be subjected to isolation at their own cost or to supervised home isolation provided that they have obtained approval for such supervised home isolation from the responsible official’s Ministry of Health and Social Services.

As a member of the National Covid-19 Points of Entry Pillar, representing the transport industry, the WBCG has been actively involved in re-engineering Covid-19 protocols and regulations to ensure that tailored guidelines are deployed for the industry. The National Covid-19 Points of Entry Pillar focuses on travelers’ protocols and regulations. The WBCG takes pride in this achievement, which will result in truckers spending less time at the border resulting in the improvement of border efficiency as well as ensuring the seamless movement of people and goods along the Walvis Bay Corridors.

Furthermore, the WBCG continues to advocate for the development of priority transport infrastructure, conducive policies, and regulations with a core focus on trade facilitation. The WBCG remains resolute to continue promoting, marketing, and managing the Walvis Bay Corridors for safe, efficient, and cost-effective transport and logistics solutions.

In 2020, the WBCG became one of the first non-profit organizations to collaborate with MoHSS on the national response on Covid-19. In recognition of the group’s Wellness Service commitment towards the transport industry, the Health Ministry further partnered with the WBCG on the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign in September 2021, to ensure that long-distance truck drivers have access to Covid-19 vaccines along the Walvis Bay Corridors. The national Covid-19 vaccination campaign is aimed at creating awareness and encouraging more people to get vaccinated for the country to achieve herd immunity.

In support of this campaign, the WBCG Wellness Service has rolled out Covid-19 vaccinations at its Roadside Wellness clinics in Windhoek, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Katima Mulilo, and Oshikango. As of December 2021, a total of 4273 people have been vaccinated countrywide of which 422 are long-distance truck drivers. Hence, with the revised guidelines, we encourage all transport companies to promote Covid-19 vaccination for the drivers to ensure that drivers seamlessly continue to transport cargo into Namibia, while hoping for a reciprocal approach by other member states within SADC and eventually Africa at large.

WBCG sees the implementation of the new Covid-19 regulations in Namibia as a breakthrough, a new benchmark, and the operationalization of best practices as a move in a positive direction not only for the transport and logistics sector but a win for the business community in general. Furthermore, we believe that this will further reduce the cost of doing business, increase efficiency in trade facilitation, remove of NTBs, and position Namibia as the Logistics Hub for Southern Africa. We urge all SADC Member States to reciprocate this best practice.

The WBCG would like to thank all its steadfast stakeholders such as the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Health and Social Services, SADC Secretariat, Namibian Ports Authority (Namport), transport and logistics companies, and all other relevant stakeholders for their commitment to ensuring the seamless movement of people and goods.

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