By Staff Reporter
In what can only be described as a leadership squabble of note, features the now vacant position of the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU, filled albeit temporarily.
Since taking office on 1 April 2014, Paulina Elago has worked tirelessly towards achieving deeper levels of integration within the union while overseeing the review of the revenue sharing agreement amongst the five member countries namely Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Eswatini formerly known as Swaziland.
That contract between Elago and SACU ended in March this year when the Council of Ministers temporarily extended her contract by three months, till end June 2019, and then her contract was not further extended.
During July however, Elago continued coming to office, and represented the institution in a panel discussion, in her former capacity as Executive Secretary of SACU, at the recently held private sector-led economic summit held in Windhoek during last month.
Elago’s contract was summarily suspended at the end of last month after the Council of Ministers failed to agree on extending her contract.
Elago has only served one term in office after serving for more than 20 years at the TradeMark East Africa Company. During the same meeting, Finance Ministry Executive Director Erica Shafudah was appointed for a two-month period until the end of September. Shafudah, according to an eye-witness spends a few hours on a weekly basis at the offices of the customs union.
This development, according to a trade expert who spoke anonymously is especially concerning in the landscape of Namibia since the country has been battling with dwindling SACU revenues, which has been a mainstay of the Namibian economy for many years.
Namibia took over the Council of Ministers on the 15th July 2019 and will be at the helm of the Council of Ministers until the 14th July 2020.
On Tuesday this week, The Patriot visited the SACU building to verify whether Elago has indeed exited the building and this was confirmed upon enquiry.
Trying to reach Elago by telephone for an interview was unsuccessful as she has changed her telephone number.
SACU has significant assignments which include; working to entrench integration amongst economies, assistance with trade facilitation, while the now completed review of the revenue share agreement formed centre stage. It further works to develop institutions.