Botswana Unified Revenue Services(BURS) has introduced a new customs management system, effective beginning of January this year.
This follows the leap from P94.2 billion in 2012 to a whopping P108.4 billion in Botswana’s exports and imports trade values in the year 2015/16
The new Customs Management Systems (CMS) which will be rolled out in phases, is expected to help the revenue collection authority, process Botswana’s cross border trade volumes which have been increasing over the years.
According to a press statement by BURS, the new system is also in line with current and emerging automation needs. Over the years the growing trade volumes have forced BURS to put in place necessary and adequate resources.
The Customs Management System replaces a 14-year-old Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA)++, whose supplier was no longer providing technical support, due to lack of skilled personnel.
Furthermore, ASYCUDA had become inadequate, because the Customs business had evolved ever since it was implemented.
The CMS will ensure there are no leakages of revenue, meant for the development of the country and its citizenry.
Phase One of the project kick started this month, covering Gaborone, Sir SeretseKhama International airport, Pioneer border gate and Mamuno border post.
Other airports and border posts are to be covered during the months of February and March this year.
In November 2017, phase two of the CMS project will be implemented, which compromises of a National Single Window platform and interfaces with Namibia.
“The National Single Window will allow all parties involved in cross border trade to meet their obligations for border clearance with all the appropriate trade related government ministries and agencies,” reads the media statement.
Through a single electronic submission of documents and data, traders will have less paperwork and spend less time to obtain the required permits, certificates, clearances and licences for their goods.
“The National Single Window will also improve transparency, simpler and faster customs clearance.”
By interfacing Botswana and Namibia customs IT systems, goods from Namibia destined for Botswana will be processed simultaneously in Botswana.
Over the coming years, Botswana intends to link up with the rest of it neighbours, namely South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Implementation of Phase two of CMS is targeted at reducing clearance time, easier access to trade data, and standardized trade statistics, access to advanced information, reduced trading costs and reduced opportunities of fraud by cross border traders by inflating the cost of goods for export or under stating the prices of imports into Botswana.
Meanwhile, for government agencies, the new customs system will benefit from improved co-ordination at border controls, enhanced trade security, more efficient operations controls, with increased revenues in certain areas.