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Mombasa, Kenya, Thursday, 5 May 2016: South Sudan has joined the COMESA Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (RCTG) Scheme after signing the instruments of accession, Thursday 4 May 2016.

The signing ceremony took place during the 9th Meeting of the Management of the RCTG Scheme which was opened by COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, Thursday, 4 May 2016 in Mombasa, Kenya. This bring to two the number of COMESA instruments that South Sudan is implementing including the third Party Insurance Scheme known as the COMESA Yellow Card.

The RCTG popularly known as the CARNET is a customs transit regime designed to facilitate the movement of goods under customs seals in the COMESA region. It eliminates the need for multiple bonds in different countries of transit with one custom bond.

The Government of South Sudan has already designated Speed Insurance Company as the National Surety and authorized the National Surety to sign the Inter-Surety Agreement and become a member of RCTG Council.

The RCTG scheme is active in countries in the Northern, Central and Dar transport corridors since its commencement in 2012. Tanzania and now South Sudan are the non-COMESA Member States in the scheme.

Mr Ngwenya told the meeting that States and stakeholders participating in the scheme have derived benefits from savings in the cost of transit and transport by average of 30 percent.

“The number of RCTG Bonds issued for goods in transit has reached 548 RCTG Bonds worth US$ 400 million,” he said.

Other benefits include: the increase in the number of RCTG CARNET issued, from 17,000 to 34,000; the number of Clearing and Forwarding Agents and Sureties participating in the scheme has reached 548 and 46 respectively. And 90% of the 548 clearing and forwarding agents are Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

In addition, the RCTG- Management information System has been fully integrated with ASYCUDA World of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, with SIMBA of Kenya and TANCIS of Tanzania; and several Revenue Authorities have replaced their national transit bonds with the RCTG Bond.

Two other countries namely, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to commence operations of the RCTG in May and June this year respectively.

Despite the encouraging progress in the Northern, Central and Dar Corridor countries, the Secretary General said challenges in its implementation were being experienced in the Djibouti Corridor and the North-South Corridor.

“Ethiopia and Djibouti National Sureties are yet to agree on sharing of premiums on RCTG Bonds issued. This has contributed to the delays in the implementation of the RCTG CARNET in the Djibouti Corridor, which also include Sudan and South Sudan,” he said.

In the North-South Corridor, Zambia is in the process of engaging its stakeholders to join the scheme. This will enable other member States in the Corridor, namely, Zimbabwe and Malawi to move forward in the implementation process of the scheme.

Mr Ngwenya commended the Commissioners of Customs, the National Sureties and the Clearing and Forwarding Agents for their dedication in the administration of the RCTG CARNET.