Sao Tome and Principe reforms trade environment
August 15, 2013
The government of Sao Tome and Principe embarks on a trade project to make it easier and cheaper to import and export goods in Sao Tome and Principe. The project will strengthen the existing customs administration systems and establish an online single window for trade.
The single window will enable traders to submit all documents in one place. It will also link up all government institutions involved in international trade facilitation so that all clearances, permits, payments can be processed electronically. These institutions include Customs, Tax Administration, inspection agencies, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Port and Airport Administration, Fiscal Police and Transport Department.
For a small island country that imports its fuel, most manufactured goods, consumer goods and a substantial amount of food, significant cost savings are expected because of reduced processing time. A transparent trade facilitation system will also increase customs revenues, and reduced foreign trade transaction costs will encourage local businesses to export.
The project will slash trade procedures from over 30 to 3, reduce the customs clearance time at the port of Sao Tome from 10 to 3 days and the time to export and import as measured by the World Bank Doing Business from 26 and 28 days respectively to 16 days.
The project is jointly financed by the Government of Sao Tome and Principe, Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). It builds on earlier support given by the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US Department of Defence for customs reforms.
This is ICF’s first project in Sao Tome and Principe.