TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Swaziland: Cross border traders happy with Time Release Study

Thursday, 01 March 2012

Source: Swaziland Observer

Hardly a month after the World Bank Time Release Study (TRS) was commissioned, the Swaziland Revenue Authority has already identified an improvement in the internal processes of clearing vehicles, textiles and other goods.

This was an observation made by Cyprian Lukhele, Station Manager at the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) office. “Preliminary reviews of the completed data collection forms revealed some areas of opportunity for improvement in our internal processes on the clearing of vehicles, textiles and other goods,” he said.

The study was met with enthusiasm from cross border traders who by far were the most affected by import and export process. SRA Station Manager at Ngwenya, the busiest border post in Swaziland under the study, Mark Dlamini said he was encouraged by the response he got from the traders.

“Initially they thought the study and completion of the data collection forms would delay them. On explanation of why it is being done in the first place, they embraced it and asked a lot of questions,” he said.

Dlamini said some of the clearing agents were asking why they never got the data collection forms as some of the import and export processes start with them.

Bertina Simelane and Phindile Mashaba, SRA representatives at Lavumisa, expressed hope that the study would facilitate completion of the new building under construction as the current setup makes it difficult to distinguish between the customs area and other facilities, which sometimes poses a challenge on enforcement.

At Lomahasha Border, the study was met with misconceptions and myths which resulted in alcohol traders being wary of using the post. Station Manager Archel Mavuso said he hoped the study would bring lasting solutions with Mozambique.

“During the week of the study, trade dipped a bit especially on the alcohol side. A few of the traders said they heard that trucks were being followed from the border gates. We tried by all means to discredit the myth and brought to light the importance of the study and that their involvement was critical,” he said.

SRA Commissioner General Dumsani Masilela said; “as the management of SRA we acknowledge the challenges that we have in aligning ourselves with our vision of being customer centric and are committed to live up to our motto ‘raising the standard’ as has been highlighted in previous sessions relating to the time release study.

“We will look into the findings of the study and engage other stakeholders involved in trade so as to prioritise some quick win solutions coming from the recommendations of the TRS,” he added.

Study

Customs Commissioner IV Mazorodze, under whose department the study was being conducted, said he could not wait for the findings as he and his team would want to improve trader experiences at the ports of entry and exit as these impact on declarations and thus revenue.

Informal traders (hawkers) formed part of the study. Lavumisa and Ngwenya completed more than 400 hawker data collection forms with Lomahasha processing 130 on February 15 alone.

When sought for comment, National Working Group Chairperson Mary Dube indicated that the team would be meeting soon after the data capture to go through the report.