By Bertha Chirwa
Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority MRA John Bizwick is optimistic that the SADC Electronic Certificate of Origin will improve the way SADC countries conduct business in the region.
Speaking on Wednesday at the official launch of the SADC Electronic Certificate of Origin in Blantyre, Bizwick said the new digital certificate will make life easier, convenient, safer and faster tereby creating a conducive environment for trade facilitation among businesses in the region.
“With the SADC e-certificate of origin, exporters will no longer be required to physically go to the issuing authority for application and registration as the services will be done online.
The e-certificate will also increase the seamless flow of intra-trade across the SADC region by eliminating impediments caused by manual process”. He said.
Over the years, business people and customs administrations have been processing the certificate manually by issuing authority in the country of origin of the goods which according to Bizwick has been causing a lot of challenges such as delays and overhead costs incurred by exporters.
He added that the new system is in line with the country’s Domestic Mobilisation Strategy DRMS for 2021-2026 and the MRA Corporate Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 that advocate for adoption of new technologies with a view to serve the customer better.
MRA has assured the SADC Secretariat that it will adopt the new system inorder to improve the country’s ranking on the ease of doing business index.
“Currently, Malawi ranks 109 out of 190 countries in the world on the ease of doing business index. We feel we can do better as a country. One way of achieving this is by adopting new technologies such as the SADC e-Certificate of Origin so that we can able facilitate intra-regional trade for the benefit of the people of Malawi and the SADC block as a whole”. Said Bizwick.
SADC Secretariat is implementing the SADC e-Certificate of Origin on a pilot phase in Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi before rolling it out to other member states by 2024.