Madagascar recorded a 26% drop in imports in April compared to March 2020, according to a snapshot survey undertaken by the Statistics Unit at the Secretariat. The survey indicated that four key border posts, Antanimena, Tamatave-Pétrole, Ivato-Aéroport, Mamory-Aéroport recorded declines of 35%, 59%, 36% and 80% respectively. Tamatave-Port was the only one to record a marginal increase in imports of two percent.
The survey provided a brief on trade flows through COMESA borders prior to and during the COVID 19 pandemic. It is part of a series of reports providing initial results on tracking trade flows in the COMESA region with a view to provide evidence on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade.
In May 2020, however, the provisional figures on imports showed an increase of 36% with exports declining by 31% in April compared to March 2020.
Reduction in customs duties are listed as among the critical challenges faced by the Madagascar Revenue Authority. According to the report, customs duty receipts declined by 27% in April compared to March 2020. Tamatave-Port, Antanimena and Tamatave-Pétrole recorded declines in customs duty receipts of 16%, 44% and 47% respectively.
The Government has since put in place measures to facilitate the movement of goods, transport, persons and services. These measures include prompt admission of goods into the country closely linked to the management of the covid-19 pandemic such as basic necessities, drugs, medical materials and medical instruments.
The Government has also put exemptions from duties and taxes on the importation of relief consignments. This is aimed at providing support to the vulnerable people who have been adversely affected by the effects of COVID -19 in the country.
To avoid physical contact between customs officials and the business owners, the government is electronically processing authorizations, value requests, complaints and has since reduced customs clearance time.
The government has also introduced measures to promote trade balance as well as incentives for Malagasy operators to export more so that the much-needed foreign exchange is available in the country’s economy.