Business and Finance

Rwanda launches electronic system to ease trade with EAC partners

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The cost and time of doing business between Rwanda and her East African counterparts is set to reduce after Kigali launched an electronic clearing system.

The Rwanda Electronic Single Window (RESW), also first in sub-Saharan is expected to reduce by half the time cross-border traders spend on official paperwork and cut the cost of doing business at the Rwandan borders.

The $3.3 million scheme launched on Friday is a virtual link between government clearing agencies and traders and is expected to cut the amount of time traders spend on goods clearance by 56 per cent and to save traders and businessmen around $9 million yearly on clearance costs.

This will also reduce the time it takes to clear goods by an estimated three days.

“This is a ground-breaking scheme to cut the red tape snarling trade that will pave the way for similar systems in other EAC countries as well as making Rwanda an even cheaper place to do business,” said Ben Kagarama, Rwanda Revenue Authority Commissioner General.

Approximately 40 per cent of the price of imported good is related to the cost of transport and logistics from the Ports of Dar es Salaam, Mombasa along the corridors to reach Rwanda.

According to Mark Priestley, TradeMark East Africa, Rwanda Country Director, not only will this bring Rwanda several steps closer to the ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya but will lead to direct savings for business estimated to be $6-9 million a year.

“The process is expected to introduce greater transparency and accountability into the whole chain of clearing goods”, said Mr Priestley.

The electronic single window system allows information and administrative requirements for imports and exports to be submitted at a single entry point online.

The RESW project was funded by TMEA and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as part of its programme of supporting Regional Integration and reducing the cost of transport.

The main goal of RESW is to modernize trade links within the EAC governments that include cutting the time it takes to bring containers from the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam to landlocked Rwanda and Burundi by 15 per cent by 2016 and also slash the time it takes trucks to cross borders by 30 per cent.

“One way to achieve this is through the introduction of One Stop Border Posts to eliminate time-consuming duplication of paperwork checks between neighbouring states,” said Mr Priestly.

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