Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has admitted failing to meet targets for clearing goods at Songwe Border in Karonga, a development that is affecting trade facilitation.
This is contained in the Time Release Study (TRS), a tool designed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to aid tax administration in identifying bottlenecks and improving performance in clearance processes at the border.
MRA commissioner general Tom Gray Malata said in a statement yesterday that the study findings are crucial to MRA operations.
He said: “The findings from the study will assist MRA to further improve trade facilitation and operations at border stations, thereby creating a conducive environment for doing business.
“The authority will be conducting regular time release studies.”
The objective of the study, conducted in April 2019, was to find out the average time taken to clear goods from the time of entry into the customs area to the time of exit from the customs area.
The study specifically focused on cargo clearance processes, to identify mitigations to bottlenecks to reduce clearance time, enhance efficiency and reduce overall dwell times for transporters, freight and clearing agents and customs administration.
The study also found that import processes require nine hours and five minutes of average release time, the processes at the border ended in 15 hours and 58 minutes while export processes took five hours 35 minutes instead of 23 minutes. On the other hand, the study found that transit (inward) processes took one day, one hour and 34 minutes instead of 49 minutes.