July 29, 2021

Automation of Egypt’s customs sped up to reduce foreign trade costs: Finance Minister

Ports will become transit gates for goods, rather than merely place for storage, says Maait

Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that the pace of the national project to modernise and automate the customs management system will be accelerated, in implementation of presidential directives.

This would help unify customs and reduce import and export costs, as well as the prices of goods and services in the local market.

It will happen by simplifying and digitising procedures, in a manner that ensures reducing the time of customs release. Ports will then become transit gates for goods, rather than merely a place for storage.

This will eventually contribute to facilitating the movement of local and foreign trade, stimulating investment, and maximising exports.

Maait said that the “single window for national trade” platform covers more than 90% of Egypt’s imports through logistic centres established in the ports of Cairo, Alexandria, East and West Port Said, Port Tawfiq, Ain Sokhna, Dekheila, and Damietta. These are in addition to the logistics centre for major customers in Cairo.

The minister pointed out that the ‘Nafeza’ electronic platform will extend to Safaga, Nuweiba, Ismailia, and Aswan before the end of 2021, thus establishing an electronic link between all customs ports.

This step ensures stronger governance, protecting Egyptian national security, and preventing the entry of any harmful or dangerous goods into the country. This is necessary in light of the other efforts being made to complete the x-ray examination system to cover 85% of customs outlets by the end of 2021.

“We continue our efforts to upgrade the human element at the Egyptian Customs Authority in line with the comprehensive development of the customs system, and we are keen on selecting the best specialised professionals to work at customs ports,” he said.

Shahat Al-Ghatouri, Head of the Egyptian Customs Authority, said, “We continue to standardise procedural and documentary transactions at all customs ports for import and export operations.”

He added that the documents attached to the customs declaration submitted for the incoming goods must include the “delivery permit and shipping bill”, except for the prior release, provided that it is delivered electronically.

There should also be a detailed commercial invoice that replaces the “package statement”, if it includes the detailed packaging data of the incoming goods, and the proof of origin document when claiming a customs exemption or preference.

He pointed out that the documents attached to the customs declaration submitted for the exported goods must also include the detailed commercial invoice, which dispenses with the “package disclosure”. This is provided that it includes the detailed data of the package, the approval of the concerned regulatory authority, and the shipping permit, if available, and is then delivered electronically.

Maait stressed his ministry’s keenness to restructure customs procedures to ensure their unification at various ports. This should be done in a way that ensures the security of the unified customs declaration, and the unification of the bidders through the rules and appendices of the customs items, as well as the unification of the rules for determining value, for the collection of taxes and customs duties, which lays the foundations for tax and customs justice.


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