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Official Launch of the Electronic Single Window (ESW) in Burundi PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 March 2015 14:13

"No more loss of time by going back and forth, no more endless discussions and often clashes between the clearing agents and customs officers; welcome to transparency of procedures”. These are the declaration of the clearing agents’ representative, after a short demonstration of the functioning of the Electronic Single Window this March 2, 2015, at the headquarters of the Office of Burundi Revenue (OBR).

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The Director of Programs and Monitoring in the Customs department explaining to reporters the innovations of the SEW

Long expected, the Electronic Single Window is a platform between different partners involved in the process of import-export of goods in Burundi. Under the coordination of the OBR, the ESW comes to "revolutionize" the conduct of foreign trade which was previously characterized by uncertainty, long procedures, non-tariff barriers and several steps (36 steps to export the coffee for example).

In his opening speech, the Commissioner General of the OBR said the project will reduce the time taken especially in customs procedures and controls. “Lowering costs by reducing administrative transactions and delays, acceleration of customs clearance, use and explanation of predictable regulations and increased transparency are some of the benefits of the Electronic Single Window” Dr. Domitien Ndihokubwayo said.

"After the undisputed success of the ASYCUDA World software which computerized customs clearance procedures, the Electronic Single Window extends the computerization not only to the customs, but also to all other agencies involved in the clearance process, "said the 2nd Deputy President of the Republic, who expects improved revenue collection and a reliable source of statistical data on import and export in Burundi.

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The 2nd Deputy President of the Republic, surrounded on his right by the Minister of Finance and to the left by the Commissioner General of the OBR, officially launching the ESW

To start with, the Electronic Single Windows will connect the OBR, the Burundian Bureau of Standards (BBN), the Ministry of Public Health and the Investments Promoting Agency (API).

The President of the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burundi (CFCIB) spoke of “the revolution of the economic sector in Burundi” and said he wanted to “quickly see other functions integrated in the electronic single window to namely management of exemptions, determining customs values and increase of the number of institutions connected to the platform”. Mr. Econie NIJIMBERE added that he already saw in the electronic single window “a guarantee of progress in the ranking of Burundi in the Doing Business Index”.

Funded by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), the ESW will be extended to 9 government and private agencies including the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, and Traffic Police: "It will be a qualitative leap in reducing the cost of transportation in Burundi, which is 30% more expensive compared to South Africa, for example”, said Ms. Anthe Vrijlandt, TMEA’s Country Representative in Burundi. She said that $ 2.4 million is the envelope for this project, which will initially include the 4 already mentioned agencies by December 2015 and 5 other agencies; and finally lead to the electronic payment of taxes of connected commercial banks.

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OBR’s and partners’ technical staff making a demonstration on the functioning of the ESW

The ESW will allow a declarant to send all his documentation and information required by law to the Customs, the Ministry of Health, the Investment Promotion Agency, and the Bureau of Standards without moving from his office, but virtually.

The computerized system will reject any incomplete application, any forged document or any other error, "which will significantly improve national security, decrease the risk of fraud and corruption, which are very detrimental to revenue collection," added the Minister of Finance and Planning of Economic Development Mr. Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza in his address.