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COMESA launches mobile app to boost operations of regional customs transit scheme

By Our Reporter

The COMESA Regional Customs Transit Guarantee Scheme (RCTG-Carnet) has launched a Mobile Application to provide access to real-time information to clearing and forwarding agents in the region. The Application is accessible on Google Play Store and Apple Store and provides a one-stop shop for the agents in member countries to view current bond balance and active Carnets, get notifications on Carnet acquittals and expiry of RCTG Bonds. 

The scheme popularly known as the RCTG CARNET is a guarantee used for goods in transit as an undertaking to comply with Customs obligations within each transit country. Its objective is to ensure that governments of transit countries can recover duties and taxes from the guarantors should the goods be illegally be disposed-off in the local market. The CARNET offers Customs Administrations a secure regional system of control replacing the nationally executed practices and procedures. 

COMESA Member States introduced the Scheme in 2012 to address difficulties experienced by transport operators, freight forwarders and clearing agents. These included high cost of Bond /Guarantee and collaterals charged by Sureties and Agents, delays at border points and revenue leakage.

At the launch of the Mobile Application on Friday, 11th September 2020, COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe remarked: 

“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.”

The COMESA RCTG Carnet is the second of its kind in the world after the European Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Carnet and the only one in the region and the African continent. It is recognized by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The RCTG Scheme has 13 members namely Burundi, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Currently, the Scheme is operational in five countries; namely: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The RCTG Carnet is fully digitalized and integrated with the National Customs IT Systems. 

During the year 2018, nearly $2billion COMESA RCTG Carnets  for customs duty and taxes for goods in transit in the Northern and Central Corridor countries were issued.

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