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The Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) has announced that it is drafting a new customs regulation.
Gebrewahid Woldegiorgis, deputy director and head of Law Enforcement at the ERCA, told Capital that the authority has been developing the new regulation over the last month.
“Within three months, the authority will issue the first draft of the regulation,” Gebrewahid said.
ERCA is now busy producing the new regulation following the Office of the Prime Minister’s instruction to produce a new customs regulation.
According to the deputy head, the new regulation will be implemented before the end of this budget year.
Gebrewahid said that the main aim of the new regulation is to modernize and ease customs’ activities. “The manufacturing sector has been given a major priority in the new customs regulation in order for the sector to boom,” the head explained.
After the end of the five year government development plan the industry is expected to play a higher role in the GDP than agriculture. As a result the government is implementing new industrial regulations. The new customs regulation is designed to attract local and foreign investors, sources said.
At the Second Federal Public Private Sector Dialogue Forum held at the Sheraton Addis on February 15, representatives from the private sector complained about the Authority’s service with regards to customs and logistical activities in the import/export sector.
Participants said that customs clearance process is complex and that there are many hoops to jump through which take sometimes several months.
“That is bleeding the import/export sector,” representatives explained. “These and other kinds of customs processes are the major obstacles to keeping business healthy,” the representatives complained at the forum.
The authority head, who admitted most of the problems that were discussed at the forum, said the new regulation the authority is now drafting actually aims to solve these and related problems.
“In relation with the implementation of the new Multimodal Transportation directive and the expansion of industrial zones, the authority plans to modernize and decentralise customs activities to solve the time consuming process of clearing customs when importing or exporting goods,” Gebrewahid explained.
The head of customs says that they plan to use new technology to store needed information and control the process of getting through customs.
ERCA recently turned to Senegalese consultant, Gainde 2000, to enable it provide single window customs service. It is now implementing the suggestions. “To some extent it will solve the lengthy clearance process when it is executed,” he added.
During the discussion the head also talked about additional steps to alleviate frustration with importers and exporters. They plan to implement study recommendations which include revising the customs tariff database and creating a uniform rate for importing goods.
“They also plan new warehouses including some bonded ones to diversify the sector,” ERCA deputy head said.
One of the major issues on the forum had been the pre-shipment inspection of the CIQ quality certificate provided by the China Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ).
The study recommended that the government cancel the CIQ certification process signed in 2007 between the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). AQSIQ is a body in charge of inspection of import and export products, and provide a CIQ certificate for products imported from China.
The study indicated that this process has cost the importers up to USD 280 for one load. It is one of the documents required to obtain import permit from China and it is mandatory for all import purchases made from China in excess of 2,000 dollars.
Based on the agreement, local banks are required to include all necessary papers for an LC application to ensure that purchase orders clearly depict the goods that have met the CIQ inspection requirement.
Tadesse Haile, State Minister of Industry, said the government has decided to cancel the CIQ inspection process for the manufacturing input import items.
The study presented on customs and logistics directives were what most people discussed at the forum.