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Burundi Revenue Authority-OBR set to contribute to regional trade competitiveness with USD 1 Million grant on IT Infrastructure

TradeMark East Africa officiated the handing over of the MOU signed with the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR), and the Burundi Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Cooperation. The MOU sets areas of collaboration that are aimed at improving Burundi’s trade competitiveness within the East Africa Community through improvements and upgrades of trade systems and infrastructure (which will cost roughly 1 million USD).
The event was led by Hon Audace Niyonzima, Commissioner General of the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR), TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Burundi Country Representative Christian Nibasumba, and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Regional Director for ICT For Trade, Mr Michael Mitheu. The Dutch Ambassador to Burundi, Ms Caecilia Wijgers also witnessed the handover, in her capacity as regional partner to TMEA.
The MOU lists areas of collaboration between TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and Burundi Revenue Authority. Specifically:
(a) Installation of ICT hosting and networking infrastructure to support customs systems such as customs management system, electronic single window and cargo tracking system, among other customs systems;
(b) Establishment of robust trade systems and procedures to support effective and efficient clearance and transiting of goods in Burundi. Includes implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system under the regional electronic cargo tracking system (RECTS) framework along the Northern and Central Corridors in cooperation with the EAC Revenue Authorities and Customs Administrations along the Northern and Central Corridors;
(c) Enhancing ASYCUDA world customs management system;
(d) Facilitating the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) to implement the Single Customs Territory – Destination model with other EAC member states;
(e) Implementation of trade facilitation initiatives and agreements that have been ratified and agreed to by the government of Burundi including the facilitation of the rollout of a national electronic single window for trade;
(e) Set up of online Trade Information Services Platform that will include international trade regulations and requirements, mapping of trade networks and processes/workflows and other trade related information as defined in the WTOs Trade Facilitation Agreement
(f) Standardizations and harmonization of trade networks and processes resulting in simplified, non-duplicated, non-overlapping trade process regimes that eliminate trade transaction bureaucratic red tape and process delays from economic players; and
(g) Collaboration in the automation and integration of Government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to the Customs Systems, Electronic Single Window System and its ecosystem.
The Netherlands government has provided funding for this support through TMEA. And the Dutch Ambassador in Burundi, Caecilia Wijgers said: “Removing trade barriers in this region will facilitate foreign investment and regional trade, also to the benefit of Burundi. We believe that the private sector has an important role to play in investment that adds value to primary materials and that increases the quality of services to Burundian citizens. It is up to the government to provide an enabling environment for the private sector; a contribution to the infrastructure necessary, is provided by TMAE through this programme.”
On behalf of TradeMark East Africa, Burundi Country Representative, Christian Nibasumba said,
“This MOU is a testament that investments in improving trade facilitation in Burundi and elimination of technological Trade barriers that are critical to our regional integration. Our commitment to reducing the cost and time it takes to do business will have a direct impact on exporters that strongly rely on OBR IT Infrastructure. This 2-year project that will run until December 2020, is committed to building partnerships with the private sector in Burundi through institutions like OBR whose mandate and mission is closely tied to regional trade facilitation”
TMEA funded a total of 28 projects valued at $ 61.7M in Strategy 1 (2010 – 2017). Projects include construction and operationalisation of the Kobero one stop border post which has resulted in a 50% reduction in border clearance time. TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) help set up and operationalise the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) to improve government revenue collection. Total government revenue increased to BIF 600 billion in 2015, from BIF 312.2 billion in 2009.
Support to Burundi bureau of standards Increased the number of product tests that can be performed from 3 to 47 and facilitated BBN’s staff certification in ISO QMS 9001 and 22000. TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) supported the Burundi Federal chamber of Commerce (CFCIB) to influence the making of trade policy and its enactment, by helping the chamber to generate and use evidence for effective advocacy on key policy issues. TMEAs women in trade programme implemented has increased women trader’s participation in cross border trade increasing their volume and value of exports.

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