Burundi joins EAC partner states to launch own Trade Information Portal

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The Republic of Burundi has joined other East African Community (EAC) partner states to launch her own Trade Information Portal (TIP).

The TIP is meant to map out all of Burundi’s imports, exports and transit procedures, fees and time.

According to a press statement by EAC sent to newsrooms on Wednesday July 28, the next step after mapping will be to simplify and remove unnecessary and redundant bottlenecks.

Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are the EAC partner states that have already launched and operationalised the Trade Information Portals (TIPs).

Burundi unveiled her own TIP on  the internet on Tuesday July 27, 2021 as committed by the Burundi delegation during the 38th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment held in Arusha on 28th May, 2021.

Trade Transparency

The publication of Trade Information is a good sign that Burundi is committed to facilitate trade by making trade information more transparent.

Burundi’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Domitien Ndihokubwayo Capitoline Niyonizigiye, Minister for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism co-presided the launch.

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Hon. Ndihokubwayo urged the private Sector to use this opportunity offered by the Government of Burundi to plan effectively their business for the development of Burundi.

Business facilitation

On her part, Hon. Niyonizigiye assured the public that her ministry would continue to support all initiatives to promote business facilitation as it is an important source of revenue for both government and the business community.

“For the government, the benefits come in the form of increased tax revenues, better use of resources and improved compliance by business operators,” said Niyonizigiye.

The Commissioner General of Office Burundais des Recettes, Mr. Pacifique Munyeshongore also called upon private sector, especially SMEs to exploit this opportunity given to them in order to grow their businesses.

Business support

According to Mr. Mateusz Prorok, the Project Manager at the EU delegation in Burundi, the trade information portal would support businesses in promoting their value chains.

He further assured Burundi of continued support by EU for the sustainability of Trade Facilitation in the country.

Mr. Munyampundu Evariste, the Regional Coordinator of the Trade Information Portal Project and Trade Facilitation Officer, represented the EAC Secretary General.

In his remarks, he thanked Burundi for her efforts to facilitate trade, which he said has had a positive impact on intra-regional trade trade and international trade.

The Burundi TIP was funded by European Union Commission via Mark-up project with a technical support of International Trade Center (ITC), EAC Secretariat and UNCTAD.

World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

EAC countries have set up online trade facilitation portals to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). These portals are one-stop shops for all relevant information about trade, including laws, regulations and procedures in a specific country.

The regional EAC Regional Trade Information Portal was launched in 2018 as a result of the collaboration between the EAC Secretariat, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The portal gives access to step-by-step guides on licenses, pre-clearance permits and clearance formalities for the goods traded within, to and from the EAC.

How the portals work

It links to national trade facilitation portals in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and now Burundi, co-implemented by ITC and UNCTAD that present step-by-step guidance on import and export procedures.

For each step, the trade portal tells the user ‘where to go, who to see, what documents to bring, what forms to fill, what costs to pay, what law justifies the step and where to complain to in case of a problem’. Under the EAC MARKUP, Burundi will soon launch its own national portal, also linked to the EAC portal.

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Beyond easing business compliance with trade formalities, Portals also help EAC drive regional integration. Through the platform, EAC Partner States can exchange good practices and track their progress towards facilitation goals set at the regional and national levels.

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