Egypt’s Ministry of Finance is actively proceeding with its implementation of the national project to modernise and automate the country’s customs administration system, according to Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait.
The project aims to simplify procedures whilst reducing the cost of goods and shrinking customs clearance times, through the optimised use of modern technology. It is also taking place through the adaptation of international experiences to local needs, to improve Egypt’s customs system.
The Ministry of Finance will look to apply the “single window” system, and make a gradual transition from a paper-based work environment to a digitised version.
In a statement on Tuesday, following Parliament’s approval of the draft customs law, Maait said that an electronic system will, for the first time, be established to track goods until their final release stage.
The updated system aims to ensure all items in customs are dealt with according to an e-commerce system, with the possibility of pre-clearance and payment of fees before the good arrives.
An electronic exchange of information and secured data will take place between the customs authority and the state or foreign authorities with whom agreements have been concluded.
The minister added that a risk management system had also been introduced as part of the updated system. This will lead to the release of the goods via the green path, and without inspection, in accordance with the established controls. This has been put in place to simplify procedures and speed up customs release.
Maait explained that the new law includes facilities for those dealing with customs, including the introduction of a new system for settling customs disputes. A temporary customs warehouse system has also been introduced.
He pointed out that the new law aims to encourage national industry, reduce the cost of local production, and maximise its competitiveness in global markets. It includes the advantage of customs tax dues instalments on machinery, equipment, devices, production lines and their requirements, which do not enjoy exemptions or reductions in production sector customs tariffs.
The minister explained that the new law also includes abolishing custom duties on government and university hospital medical items. This covers medical equipment and supplies, medicines, blood products, serums, family planning methods, and baby formula. This comes in fulfilment of the constitutional obligations to provide health care to citizens.
Maait added that the legal framework for the free market system has also been created, as it was not previously regulated by the current. He pointed out that the law includes the principle of not breaching the exemptions established by other laws in force, to prevent duplication. The principle extends to laws covering sports, the rights of persons with disabilities, and other laws that establish custom exemptions.