Burkina Faso to simplify customs import and export procedures
June 17, 2013
Businesses in Burkina Faso will soon find it easier to import and export goods thanks to a Customs Procedures Facilitation project being implemented by ICF and the Government of Burkina Faso.
The project aims to streamline pre-clearance procedures and customer services in order to reduce time and costs for the private sector to import and export goods.
To do this, the project will establish a single window for issuing documents and making payments required for the pre-clearance process. About 27 different institutions involved in the pre-clearance process will be integrated into this single window system – 7 government agencies, 5 private sector agencies, 10 commercial banks and 5 insurance firms. To streamline the process further, the number of documents required for imports will be reduced from 10 to 7 and for exports from 10 to 3.
These changes are expected to reduce the time for the pre-clearance process from 15 days to 3 days. Instances of fraud, forgery and corruption are expected to reduce significantly as transparency increases in the process of issuing documents required for export and import.
An internal pilot of the new system was conducted with successful results. An external pilot is expected to start in mid June this year. The whole system is expected to go live at the end of October 2013.
The private sector agencies involved in the pre-clearance process are looking forward to the new system as it will provide them with great benefits. Ecobank expects to increase efficiency in its international trade unit as the system will enable it to reduce the time required to process import and export transaction files. Likewise, Cotecna, which processes import and export certificates on behalf of the Government, expects its internal processing of trade related documents to take 10 minutes instead of one week. Insurance companies expect their revenues from transport and international trade to go up as the new system will enforce the law which requires importers to get an insurance policy before they can import goods.
In the end, it is the people of Burkina Faso who will benefit the most as the costs of importing and exporting goods in the country reduces.