Burundi has launched an electronic cargo clearance system that is expected to speed up trade with other countries in the region.
The new trade facilitation system, known as the Electronic Single Window (ESW), is set to enhance efficiency of cross-border trade at Burundi airports and border posts and reduce cost of doing business.
“The Electronic Single Window is therefore timely and will end the physical back and forth taxpayers’ movement between different institutions and stakeholders in trade” Domitien Ndihokubwayo, commissioner-general, Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) said.
The system will enable traders to simultaneously submit information and administrative requirements for imports and exports at a single entry point on the Internet.
The trade files can be attached in a range of formats including text files, images and tables. Once submitted, a clearing agent will no longer need to physically take documents from one government agency to another for processing but simply fill in necessary information on the web page.
“The electronic process will enhance efficiency at the borders and is expected to contribute to 15 per cent reduction in time to import (or export) a container to Burundi from Dar es Salaam. It is also expected to contribute significantly to the 30 per cent reduction of the average time a truck takes to cross Kobero border post (within Burundi),” Trademark East Africa (TMEA), which funded the programme with a $2.5 million grant said.
The use of electronic documents will allow trade operators and border officials to expedite transactions and minimise human conduct that has been blamed for increased cases of graft.
“This tool will not only reduce the number of procedures for import and export but will also assist in the fight against corruption and fight,” TMEA country director, Anthe Vrijlandt said.
The ESW has been designed to work in harmony with current and future customs systems, which means that it will be able to grow and be upgraded as necessary without facing any constraints from the digital documents module, TMEA said.