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Kinshasa, Friday, July 8, 2016: COMESA has launched the COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation System (CVTFS) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The launch was conducted on the Matadi- Kinshasa Corridor which has traffic volumes of more than 1,000 trucks in a month.

CVTFS is an electronic system developed by COMESA not only for monitoring consignments along different transport corridors but also for integrating other COMESA trade facilitation instruments on one online platform. It constitutes a Single Regional Window that connects all Customs Offices in a transit corridor from the office of Customs, at the commencement of a journey, to the Customs office of destination. As a Single Regional Window, all customs administrations in different countries are able in real time to monitor the movement of trucks and cargo.

Through the integration of all customs offices and the use of a regional customs bond guarantee the delays associated with the opening and cancellation of bonds are eliminated. The implementation of the CVFTS will contribute to efficient logistics and ultimately the reduction of trade transit related costs. The CVFTS will see member States that are implementing the system improve in their rankings on the World Bank Index of doing business across borders.

The launch was witnessed by COMESA Secretary-General Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, Minister of Finance H.E Henry Yav Malang, Minister of Trade, H.E Madame Nefertiti Kisula, Director General of Excise Duty and Customs, (DGDA) Mr. Deo Magera, senior government and DGDA officials and representatives of the private sector.

The launch was held at the General Directorate of Excise Duty and Customs, (DGDA) headquarters.

In his statement the Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya thanked the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for spearheading the implementation of the system.

“This historic launch was spearheaded by the Government DR Congo under the wise leadership of H.E President Joseph Kabila Kabange during his tenure as chair of the COMESA Authority,” Mr Ngwenya said.

He described the implementation of the CVFTS as a game changer that will plug the loop holes exploited by business people who have invented creative ways of avoiding paying duties and taxes of equivalent effect.

Minister Malang, who flagged off the first truck under the CVTFS described the system as one the most important COMESA initiatives that will complement existing customs automated systems. He said this will contribute to improved revenue collection from both customs duties and value added tax. The Minister affirmed the government’s commitment to implement the CVFTS in all the trade corridors through which goods are imported and exported.

The Director General of DGDA thanked COMESA for collaborating with his Directorate to ensure the successful launching of the system. He noted that the CVFTS will result in improved operational efficiency by those involved in logistics and transport services.

“I look forward to the eventual rolling out of the CVFTS in the Lubumbashi to Dar es Salaam Corridor, the Central Corridor and Northern Corridor,” Mr Magera said