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The Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) will implement a new system for imported products to prevent under invoicing.
An information technology firm from India, The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), is almost finished with developing the method that will transform how ERCA assesses the average amount of tax.
This system will set minimum prices using transaction costs. Currently ERCA uses a system known as CD to prevent under invoicing but this has not proven to be sufficient.
According to experts at the Authority the new scheme has been implemented in other countries and should successfully eliminate the problem.
An expert involved in the transport business told Capital that the new system will make the customs clearance system more clear. “If an importer tries to declare their clearance under invoice it will penalize them,” the transporter explained. “The system will also make the import scheme more active,” they explained.
According to ERCA officials, the system will be implemented in October as a pilot project.
The 3.5 million birr venture that is developed by C-DAC, an Indian government firm and consulted by the Indian Central Board of Excise and Customs will also enable the ERCA to comply with the World Trade Organization Agreement on Customs Valuation.
In the new system customers can obtain a service evaluation declaration form on the official website and they can clear their tax and duty through an online system that will be available when the project is fully implemented. According to experts at ERCA, the new system can modify the clearance amount of every import item immediately. It does not have to be revised every three months like the current ‘CD’ system. According to the new scheme importers can declare import items and get the declaration from the Authority without being present at any branch of the Authority.
The CD system revised the tariff of every import item every three months and was one of the reasons importers abused the system. They were already aware of the maximum tariff of their import item because it was on the CD. Now the new online service will give the actual tariff of every import item to the Authority without the importer’s knowledge. In addition to that the new system will depend on invoices provided by importers as opposed to the existing database of minimum prices for an estimated 7.5 million goods.
According to Melesew Hailemariam, website officer of ERCA, the Authority has also started the pilot project for online (e-filing) tax declaration.
Currently, there are about 60 different taxes that the government collects. Presently customers had to visit the Authority branches to clear their taxes, but the new system will allow the tax payers to conclude their duties without their appearance at ERCA offices.
in the near future the Authority will facilitate several awareness creation events for the public to obtain more understanding about the new system that will expected to be fully implemented in the coming few months, ” Melesew told Capital.
According to the expert, the new system will make repeated visits to the Authority obsolete.