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Summary of the Second Meeting of the Forum of the Single Electronic Window

Summary of the Second Meeting of the Forum of the Single Electronic Window

28 February 2012

The Second Meeting of the Single Electronic Window (SEW) Forum took place on February 28, 2012, at the conference room of the VIP Hotel in Maputo with the following items on the agenda:

Presentation of the stage of implementing of the SEW, briefing on the new clearance regulation (Ministerial Diploma 16/2012 of 01 of February) and debate about the start of the obligation of the SEW in Timar, with a focus on the electronic manifest submission.

In previous notes, the General Director of Customs, Domingos Tivane, said that Customs reform dated of many years. He explained that there are no easy or cheap reforms, because all reforms are hard and painful, particularly when it comes to customs operations. He added that we are now facing a further stage, which is the phase of the SEW, which is not easy and not everyone enjoys it, because they are used to one method of operating, but there is a need to change to another philosophy.

The official opening of the meeting came from the President of the Mozambican Revenue Authority, Rosario Fernandes. During his speech the President noted that the Forum of the Single Electronic Window is a special area of inter-institutional interaction and dissemination of information of the actual stage of the system implementation, involving different players and stakeholders in international trade.

He added that the pace of growth compared to the average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of taxes on goods and services lies at 8.6 percent, compared to over 14 percent of income taxes, which requires the Single Electronic Window to generate a multiplying effect of rapid impact on the tax and budget portfolio.

Presentation of the SEW stage

After the official opening, Romano Manhique proceeded with a presentation on the actual status of implementing of the SEW, followed by the exhibition of the respective video.

Manhique began by explaining that they would consider the recommendations given by the President of the RA and the Customs General Director, into making the forum a building site for suggestions and opinions that may contribute to the improvement of the SEW project.

According to him, the SEW project is practically solidified on Timar, in Maputo Port, as a pilot site, and preparations are now underway for the implementation in the ports of Beira and Nacala. He spoke about the need to reflect on how to develop the project in these ports, for being serious and strong links with neighbouring countries. Indeed, in Beira, facilities where the implementation team will operate have been rehabilitated. Currently, communications systems are being installed.

As for Nacala, Romano Manhique said that the assessment about the needs for the installation of equipment to configure the network data and energy was conducted. The objective is not to take the same time it took to implement the project in Maputo.

In Beira and Nacala, the work must be faster, because the experience of Maputo is very motivational. With regards to Tete, he explained that due to large investments in progress, especially in the mining area, there are many dispatches, resulting in piles of documents. The best way to overcome this situation is to install the fastest possible the SEW system in that province, to ease the business.

New Clearance Rules

Felix Massangaie proceeded with an explanation about the new clearance rules and on the dissemination of the SEW. Massangaie explained that business meetings have been conducted, especially in Tete and Nacala, where there is a remarkable economic growth.

Turning to the legal issues, he said the SEW is intended to reduce the clearance time, reduce repetition in collecting of the same information and introduce the new format of the customs declaration.

He emphasized that with the SEW, it moved in a first phase from 44 to 35 boxes, and that there is plenty of room for further reduction. They have started now with phase two which is the exchange of information between institutions involved in customs clearance.

Consequently, the legislation was changed due to the fact that the Ministerial Diploma 16/2012 of 01 February incorporates the obligation of the electronic submission of the declaration, as from the moment that the manifests are submitted. He also spoke about the introduction of the certificate of inspection and electronic security devices to control of the goods. According to Massangaie, the previous diploma did not cover the customs control of goods handled by cables or pipes, which will be controlled from the place of production or reception.

We are currently reviewing a number of diplomas in order to introduce the regulation of the statutes of the Authorized Economic Operator, the regulation of the transit regime of goods and terminals. Massangaie ended his presentation revealing that it has been observed that with the implementation of the SEW there’s a need to oblige people to indicate the freight rate.

Electronic Submission of the Manifest

Cacilda Chicalia focused on the electronic submission of the manifest and started by saying that this is the first step in the system of the SEW, to start the clearance process. She pointed out that one of the major difficulties is actually to have the cooperation of the shipping agents to electronically submit the manifest.

The model of the cargo manifest of the SEW contemplates the submission of the notice of arrival, namely, the navigation agents can through the portal of the SEW inform their customers that their ships will arrive on a certain date and that they bring a particular commodity, information that is disseminated automatically to everyone involved in the clearance process. Confirmation of arrival of goods is extremely important in the monitoring of deadlines for clearance of goods - 25 days. The mo­dule also includes functionality to request cancellation to be informed about the shipment, among other features.

However, according Chicalia, judging by data from the Training Centre, 90 percent of shipping agents and freight forwarders have already had training to use the SEW. Unfortunately, only two or three shipping agents have actually been using the SEW, which does not, in any way, bring a good result in ongoing tests, since the submission of cargo manifest is the first step, and without it the other subsequent steps cannot take place. During her presentation, she praised the cooperation provided by customs brokers and banks, regretting, however, the attitude of the shipping agents.

Debate Session

During the discussion session, Faruk Assubuje, from ANSATROP, said that most of its members reported that they were still exchanging messages about testing with MCNet, and there were some agencies that already had the manifest transmission module ready and others were still in the process of conclusion with the developers of their applications.

On his turn, Gama Afonso from the Chamber of Customs Brokers said that what might be happening is that there are various ways to prepare the manifest, but the rule is that it should contain all the information required. He suggested that non-submission of manifests electronically by the shipping agents should be settled by penalties imposed by the state. He described the shipping agents as the biggest obstacle in the SEW. Reacting, Miralda Matola, the representative of the Shipping Agency Iponto Micina, said that they are willing to collaborate with the SEW, but they are still unable to do so, for having different document formats (EDI) used to submit the manifests. She added that the format used by her agency was not compatible with the SEW system. Marcelino Junior, from MSC, indicated that the first time he received a message from MCNet asking for the format of the manifest was on 23rd of February and that on the following day they submitted it although they have not received the feedback.

The representative of CNASGM, Fernando Mahumane, explained that this agency faced some difficulties with regards to send the manifesto, because it showed two formats, namely D93 and D95. In his opinion, there was miscommunication, since they were told that one of them was compatible, but after processing it did not work. He added that a new format must now be developed and that this would take some time. Clarifying some of the issues raised, Guilherme Mambo, manager of the SEW imple­mentation team, explained that the testing phase of the manifests began last year.

He indicated that visits and contacts were made to the navigation agents. During this process, there was a lot of collaboration by two agents, namely Manica and Marsk. It was verified, that there were two general systems of manifests, the D95A and D93B, used almost throughout the SADC region. These formats were adjusted to the SEW and he is already receiving them without problems. Mambo called all the agents to contact the MCNet to work together to avoid any constrains when the time of the obligation on the use of the system comes into effect.

The Customs General Director questioned about the reason why the issue of submitting the electronic manifesto had been pointed out, once it was found that there was no refusal by officials to do so, to what Mr. Mambo replied explaining that there were a few problems, due to the fact that the full capacity of the Single Electronic Window was not being entirely used, as some agents were still making copies of documents with 500 pages and handed over to Customs when they could electronically submit the manifest.

Dixon Chongo, from the DC Associates Ltd, raised a question about research and intelligence, as these departments have been slow, taking six to twelve hours to respond to requests.

The second point made by Dixon relates to the involvement of banks in the SEW, since only one bank had adhered to the system to date.

Gama Afonso said that it seemed to that the research in the SEW had fewer employees involved, which explains the delays. As for the Banks, Gama said that for the users of the SEW, the bank is a box to receive the money to make the process move forward and that one cannot wait for compensation. In his turn, Kekobad Patel, form the CTA said it had found two aspects to highlight: the functioning of the SEW and the need to change specific legislation which requires a recheck. He spoke about the need to analyze and update all legislation that has to do with the cargo manifest, to accommodate all mentioned aspects.

Responding once again to the questions raised, Guilherme Mambo said the aspect related to the involvement of other banks in the SEW could be addressed in the next forum, stressing that this time probably more banks will have joined the SEW. With regards to the registration of assistants, Mambo said there is an order of service from Customs authorizing the registration of assistants to create a draft dispatch order. Nigel Gregory, Managing Director of MCNet, said that the SEW provides a platform for all those involved in the process of importation and exportation can work. He added that the SEW is not a magic box, reason why all parties involved in the process we in the meeting, which means that everyone has his or her responsibilities in this process. The General Director of Planning, Research and International Cooperation of the Revenue Authority, officially closed the Second Meeting of the Forum of the SEW, appealing to the need for MCNet and other stakeholders of the SEW to communicate on an ongoing basis so that the project can become a success.