By Mohamed Ayyad
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb responded to the requests of the Port Said traders to calculate customs on the basis of the bill that determines the actual value of the goods received. A 40% discount was also granted under Customs Decision No. 21 for containers in the customs area that have no bills and are set to arrive before midnight tonight.
Cabinet Spokesperson Hossam Al-Qaweesh said that the prime minister has been able to resolve the customs evasion crisis in Port Said by granting all traders a 40% discount on the value of the goods that are shipped to Port Said, thereby ending a crisis that involved thousands of containers in Port Said’s free zone area.
The prime minister held a meeting on Sunday evening with the ministers of industry, trade, and finance, the governor of Port Said, the chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, the chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Port Said as well as a number of traders from Port Said. The purpose of the meeting was to present an industrial and tourism development plan for Port Said and introduce simplified tax procedures for imported goods.
Al-Qaweesh added that the prime minister issued strict instructions that the tax value of the containers within the free zone in Port Said be calculated accorded to the official bills issued to them. He added that the state is adamant on combating customs evasion and confiscation mechanisms will be applied to smuggled goods by the state. Smuggled cigarettes will be confiscated and sold on the state’s behalf.
Mehleb stated: “Egypt’s highest interests and the interests of its citizens guide all government decisions.” He also emphasised that the state is persistent on combating corruption in the form of customs evasion. He added that the people of Port Said will embark on this battle alongside the government, who has the will and the resilience to develop industry and tourism in Port Said and convert the city into a global trading hub.
Merchants participating in the meeting assured the government of their willingness to combat corruption and customs evasion. They showed support for the government’s customs reform plan and the application of an automated mechanism applied to exiting cargo containers in order to eliminate interference of the human element in assessing taxes. The merchants also welcomed plans to increase development projects in the governorate.