COMOROS has become the first country in the tripartite region to launch a Short Messaging Service for reporting Non-Tariff Barriers to regional trade.

Stakeholders in the country can now report all trading obstacles using a local number +2 69 322 8528 hosted in the Comoros Chamber of Commerce, where the smart phone and the local central number is hosted.

The Short Messaging Service (SMS) for Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) which is supported by the COMESA Regional Integration Support Mechanism programme will be operated by five appointed focal points. These include the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Chamber of Agriculture, the Department of Customs and the Chamber of Commerce.

The tool was officially launched by the Director General of Customs Mr Kamalidini Souef on behalf the Vice President in charge of the Economy and Foreign Trade, Mr Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassan on April 21, 2017 in the Capital, Moroni.

“I am very happy that the COMESA Secretariat and the Tripartite Component Manager on NTBs and Non-Tariff Measures have worked with Comoros diligently to enable the launch to take place.”

The launch followed a stakeholders training workshop on NTBs conducted in Moroni by the COMESA Secretariat and the NTB Component Manager from 28 February to 3 March 2017. Among its key recommendations was that the launch of the new SMS tool.

Mr Hassan said the SMS tool will enable Comoros to deal with a wide range of trade obstacles faced by businesspeople, especially the small scale traders as they conduct their business.

“Comoros is more than determined to eliminate the obstacles to trade and enhance regional integration spearheaded by COMESA,” he said and stressed the need for stakeholders to utilize the tool effectively. He said a National Monitoring Committee for NTBs will be set up.

Representing the COMESA Secretariat, Senior Trade Officer, Mr Tasara Muzorori commended Comoros for being the first country to launch the SMS NTB reporting tool and encouraged stakeholders to use the tool.

He congratulated Comoros for being the first country to launch the re-designed SMS NTB reporting tool and encouraged the economic operators to utilize the system. She looked forward to rolling out the SMS tool to other Tripartite Member States in order to make it easy for small scale traders to report the obstacles to trade.

The launch was witnessed by 35 stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors of Comoros who pledged to utilize SMS tool effectively to report any trade obstacles that they would encounter.