The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Trade ministry has ordered the cancellation of 14 levies on exports and imports and the reduction of 20 more duties at the borders in a bid to make trading more smooth and stamp out “illegal” taxes.
Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s biggest cobalt producer, Congo has battled with lengthy queues of trucks carrying metal at its borders, which mining companies blame on poor infrastructure and inefficient customs systems.
The move aims to “rationalise import and export taxes and reduce costs and delays”, Trade minister Jean-Lucien Bussa Tongba wrote in a letter to the prime minister dated July 6 and seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
A tax on cobalt concentrate charged by Lualaba province was among the 14 levies the trade ministry said should be cut. The letter did not specify the rate.
While 20 taxes would be reduced, the Trade ministry said 33 duties - charged by 14 different government agencies - would be maintained at the same level.
The tax cuts aim to improve the competitiveness of Congo’s economy and make the country a more attractive place to do business, the letter said. Ministries should be banned from creating duties or taxes that do not refer directly to a law or a prime ministerial decree, it said.
It was not clear when the tax cuts would be implemented. A spokesperson for the Congo’s customs authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.