Comesa executes over US$1bn worth of customs bonds

Business Reporter

MORE than 1,282 Regional Customs Transit Bonds amounting to US$1 billion have been executed in the Northern and Central transport corridors in 2022 alone signifying a reduction in the cost of transit and transport of goods by between 15 to 20 percent, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has said.

The two transit corridors link Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are part of 13 countries that have joined the Regional Comesa Transit Guarantee (RCTG) Scheme.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, South Sudan and Sudan are also part of the scheme.
The RCTG, also known as Carnet, is a customs transit regime designed to facilitate the movement of goods under customs seals in the region.
According to Comesa, the scheme provides a uniform basis for transit movement through the region, where only one guarantee is used to cover goods in transit throughout all transiting countries.

At the moment, the bloc said, the scheme is fully operational in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. “The Comesa RCTG is the first regional guarantee system in Africa, recognised by the World Customs Organisation, and has attracted membership from non-Comesa states such as Tanzania and South Sudan,” said Comesa.

“Currently, 1,077 clearing and forwarding agents and sureties are participating in the scheme with over 80 percent of them being small and medium-sized businesses. “Fifty-one insurance companies are participating while the premium collected as of 31 December 2021 amounted to US$833,530.”
With the success of the regime in the Northern Corridor, Comesa said the focus is now on the North–South Corridor countries, which links, among others, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, DR Congo, and Zimbabwe.

Two weeks ago, a meeting of stakeholders from the five countries was conducted in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to address outstanding issues towards implementation of the RCTG scheme in the corridor. Among them is the integration of customs systems and the participation of Zambia, which has not joined the RCTG due to concerns raised by its clearing and forwarding agents that include among others, potential loss of business.

“Owing to its location, Zambia is a key transit hub, and its participation in the scheme is critical to the successful implementation of the RCTG in the corridor,” said Comesa.

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