Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance, said that the government started reaping the fruits of modernization and automation projects of the customs system.
He revealed that customs clearance now took 3.9 days in seaports during 2021 instead of 6.5 days in West Port Said Port, and 6.4 days in East Port Said Port, before the implementation of the “Nafeza” e-platform to facilitate business procedures.
Moreover, the mandatory operation of the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system for pre-registration of shipments helped decrease the average time for customs clearance at seaports to 2.9 days.
This will help reduce the cost of importation, which will decrease the prices of goods and services in the local market. The faster customs clearance will also enhance Egyptian exports, facilitate trade movement, stimulate investment, raise the efficiency of customs collection, and improve Egypt’s ranking in international competitiveness indicators.
He said that in order to facilitate the business community, the expenses of the requirement to ratify the certificate of origin and documentation of the chambers of commerce were eliminated in light of the application of the ACI system, in addition to accepting commercial documents and invoices electronically, noting that customs procedures can be completed before shipments arrive from any logistics center.
Mona Nasser, Assistant Minister of Finance for Customs Development Projects, stressed the ministry’s keenness on keeping direct communication with the commercial and industrial community to raise awareness, guidance and training on dealing with the new system, by holding regular meetings with investors, importers, members of chambers of commerce, and embassies of foreign countries.
She explained that more than 6,000 importers and customs extractors have been trained to deal with the new system since last April until now, in addition to 350 workers in various shipping companies and shipping agencies. She noted that the ministry will continue to hold these training courses at the Ministry of Finance and logistics centers in Damietta, Alexandria, Ain Sukhna and Safaga port, all days of the week during the next stage.
She added “We seek to provide immediate technical support to deal with the challenges and obstacles that customers may face, as the number of the technical support team for the ACI system has been increased, and a window has been allocated for all logistical problems in “Nafeza” system in each logistics center. The communication centers are provided with trained and qualified employees to immediately deal with any inquiries in both Arabic and foreign languages, 24/7.
El-Shahat Ghatouri, head of the Egyptian Customs Authority, said that the new system protects the country from goods of unknown origin. The system helps authorities know the source of origin, verify the validity of the invoice sent with the customs items, and provide the data to the relevant authorities in order to enable them to proceed in the necessary procedures. This helps immediately release the goods upon their arrival and unload them to facilitate international trade.
He stressed that there is no arbitrage valuation with regard to prices. The implementation of a program for indicative prices has also been completed, and it is now applied in all logistic centers. A price committee has been formed and all items covered by the decision are presented.