By Thoboloko Ntšonyane
MASERU – The former Commissioner-General- of the now Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL), previously known as Lesotho Revenue Services (LRA) Thabo Khasipe has been appointed as the Executive Secretary at the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
This is according to the government of Eswatini which is also the current chair of SACU.
Last week the newly appointed SACU’s Executive Secretary paid a courtesy call to the King of Eswatini, King Mswati III, the Prime Minister Sipho Dlamini, Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg and other highly placed persons in that country.
“The newly-appointed Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Executive Secretary Thabo David Khasipe is in the country on a working visit.
“The ES [Executive-Secretary] is in the country to introduce himself and to discuss key priority areas of SACU agenda for effective and strategic implementation of SACU Strategic Plan. He assumed office on 1 February 2023 and his appointment comes at a time when Eswatini is chairing SACU,” the Eswatini government tweeted.
Meanwhile, Khasipe is not new to this excise union, as he has previously served as the Deputy Executive Secretary in 2016.
Khasipe joins SACU at a time when it faces challenges with low revenue collection, which is dwindling and amongst other reasons due to the lingering effects of the Covid-19 in the Member States.
The role of Executive Secretary is among others to facilitate and ensure the implementation of all decisions of the SACU Council of Ministers and the SACU Commission. This office further provides a strategic direction to the Secretariat and facilitate communication activities that will help position and promote the bloc as well as enhance its image.
The SACU revenues contribute to the national budget of Lesotho. It is estimated that SACU revenues accounted to about 26 % of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Among others, SACU is charged with the responsibility to promote conditions for fair competition within the customs area, enhance economic development of members through revenue collections that is shared amongst members, and to promote the integration of the Member States into the global economy through the investments and trade opportunities.
As a Member State of SACU, Lesotho enjoys a duty-free trade and a common external tariff against imports from the rest of the world.
The SACU Secretariat is based in Windhoek, Namibia and has five members namely Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa. Established in 1910, SACU is the world’s oldest customs union.
Khasipe brings a wealth of experience into this organ having served in managerial and key strategic positions in Lesotho.
Between September 2004 to May 2007, Khasipe served as the Deputy Commissioner-General in the then LRA.
In 2020 he served as the Chief Executive Officer of the now defunct National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) and was also appointed to serve at the helm of the Distaste Management Authority (DMA), the positions he resigned from and went back to LRA now RSL.
He assumed the position of the Commissioner-General in December 2017.
Khasipe holds a Bachelor in Economics from the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Master’s Degree in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Free State, South Africa.