Thursday, May 23, 2024

Botswana at odds with new EU e-customs law

Botswana   is  struggling  to  comply  with  a trade regulation from the European  Union  that calls for  exporting countries to undertake web-based  customs  clearance  procedures.

The country’s automated export and import control data system is failing to link with the EU market.

The Executive  Director  of  the Botswana  Export  and  Manufactures  Association  (BEMA),  Loago  Raditedu,  said  the  automated  data  system  cannot  communicate  with  South  Africa, thereby creating a disruption in the link between Botswana and EU countries. 

Raditedu  said  they  are  awaiting  a  positive  response  from the Customs  and  Excise  department  on  the  functionality  of  the  system.

The  new  e-customs  legislation  was  passed  in  2005  and  gave the customs authorities in EU member states up  to  five  years  to  prepare  for  it. Raditedu said  Botswana  should  have  complied  with  the  regulation  by  September,  after  failing  to  meet  the  June  deadline.

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Central  Statistics  office  figures  show  that  in March 2011 total exports  were (P4, 408.3 million),  with 68.3 percent (P3, 011.2 million) destined for the EU, and  66.5 percent (P2, 932.7 million) going to the United Kingdom alone and 1.8 percent (P77.5 million) going to Belgium. 

Exports to the United Kingdom consist mainly of rough diamonds.  Diamonds contribute 72 percent of the exports from Botswana. 

The Central Statistics office added that imports from the European Union were valued at P91.0 million in April 2011, representing 2.6 percent of total imports into Botswana during the month. None compliance could bring uncertainty to the supply of the imports.

The EU  claims  that  the  current  paper -based  cross border  trade  has  given  fraudsters  an  opportunity  to  corrupt  the  governments  in  the trade  partnership. It says the trade is inefficient and costly, and often subject to fraud.

The process is reported to be excruciatingly slow and experiences delays of several weeks and often months, resulting in high overheads for both customs administrations and traders.

The slow movement of goods also has a harmful effect on exports and foreign investments, the main source of hard currency in many developing countries.
The EU also indicates that by repeatedly failing to meet delivery deadlines with international buyers, local businesses cannot build up or maintain their customer base and lose out to faster, more reliable suppliers.

Likewise, foreign investors and firms seeking joint venture opportunities are not attracted to countries where industrial supplies are delayed by customs formalities and lack of efficiency.

The  paper  free  agenda  will  be  further  advanced  by  the  introduction  of  the  Electronic  Manifest  System  in  the  middle  to  the  end  of  2012.


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