Chamber of commerce, clearing agents awarded at Customs Day celebrations
Commemorations of the International Customs Day reached a climax in Lilongwe with awards presented to Customs officers and partner organisations that are working in line with this year’s theme of ‘A Secure Business Environment for Economic Growth’.
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association of Malawi (CAFAAM) and Bolore Africa Logistics were recognised for their efforts in ensuring that Customs initiatives are adopted to reinforce the assurance of have a secure business environment.
Addressing the gathering, the Guest of Honour, Secretary to the Treasury Mr. Ben Botolo said the theme emphasized the crucial role MRA plays in trade facilitation and protecting the country’s economy from harmful items and products right at the border.
He said attainment of what theme demands has great potential to sustainably grow Malawi’s competitiveness in Doing Business with the world.
“The transactions that the Authority undertakes in tax collection and clearance of imports and exports provide Government relevant trade statistics that is used to come up with economic growth policies while also securing the business environment at the same time” he said.
He further said Government is committed to ensure that MRA continues to achieve its the objectives.
The Deputy Commissioner General Mrs Roza Mbilizi said the Authority is achieving acceptable standards of offering Customs services with various initiatives like the ASYCUDA World, online cargo tracking system and export trade facilitation.
“We want more Malawians to easily transact with MRA. We will ensure that Customs laws are adhered to and that we facilitate both import and export trade,” she said.
In his welcome remarks, Commissioner Customs and Excise Mr Fatch Valeta said MRA is mandated according to law to collect customs revenue, facilitate legitimate trade, collect trade statistics and protect the society from importation or exportation of hazardous goods.
“In our role to ensure that we have a secure business environment, Malawi Customs has implemented a major platform which enhances swift clearance of goods and facilitates trade while also providing the nation with accurate trade statistics. ASYCUDA World, a web based system that supports paperless declaration processing through the use of electronic documents. ASYCUDA World empowers taxpayers to ably handle their Customs transactions within the comfort of their offices or homes.
“The system ably interfaces with other external systems relevant to Customs clearance such as Malawi Traffic Information System (MalTis) for Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services, the Police, COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation System (CVTFS),” he said.
He added that the measures are undertaken in close coordination with the business sector, clearing agents, all operators at the border stations and surrounding communities.
MRA’s Manager for Customs Systems and Procedures, Cornelius Kakwesa made a presentation on MRA’s initiatives aimed at improving trade facilitation and the business environment. These included Non-Intrusive Inspection, cargo tracking, systems and Procedures, export facilitation, vehicle registration, MRA document validation and E-Payments.
BY HENRY MCHAZIME