Clearing and forwarding agents in the country will have regional trade information at their fingertips thanks to the introduction of a mobile application by the Common Market for East and Central Africa (Comesa).
The application has been designed to provide access to real-time information and allow clearing and forwarding agents to view current bond balance and active carnets, get notifications on carnet acquittals and expiry of Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (RCTG) Bonds.
Carnet is a guarantee document used throughout the transit process as a proof of a valid guarantee or bond and an undertaking to comply with customs obligations within each transit country.
A statement published by Comesa on Friday indicates that the innovation will among other things reduce cost of bond or guarantee and collaterals charged by sureties and agents.
Comesa Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe, said: “I certainly believe that the creation of this mobile application is a very practical way of enabling clearing and forwarding agents to access real-time information on their RCTG bonds from wherever they are without going through customs authority offices.”
In an interview Ministry of Trade spokesperson, Mayeso Msokera, said the mobile app is a significant development in trade facilitation and promotion of seamless movement of goods in the Comesa region.
“We expect the app to effectively contribute to growth in trade through reductions in the cost of bond or guarantee charged by agents; reduced delays at borders in terms of clearance process as one Comesa RCTG Carnet will be used throughout the transit process as a proof of a valid guarantee or bond,” Msokera said.
The RCTG scheme has 13 members including Malawi, Burundi, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan , Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Currently, the scheme is operational in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.