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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Nafeza customs system delayed until October

FinMin delays Nafeza deadline till October: Importers, multinationals, and foreign companies selling goods to Egypt through seaports now have until the last day of September to sign up for the Customs Authority’s new one-stop platform, Nafeza. The Finance Ministry pushed next week’s 1 July deadline in response to calls from business groups, according to a ministry statement. The digital platform — which will require shippers to begin using a global best practice system known as the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) pre-registration system — will now officially come online on 1 October.

Anyone who isn’t registered when the deadline rolls around won’t be allowed to release imported goods out of customs at seaports, the statement read. Authorities have been piloting the new system since April and had originally planned to make it compulsory at all seaports in July, before making it mandatory at other ports of entry at a later stage.

The delay aims to allow stakeholders more time to prepare for the new system, the statement read, after local and foreign players made specific requests to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait to delay its rollout.

The business community is okay with Nafeza, but needs more time to adapt: Calls to delay the system boil down to the speed of the transition, the head of the Alexandria Chamber of Shipping, Mohamed Moselhy, told us. Moselhy, who is in favor of the new digital system, said businesses need more time to get used to it. Calls for a delay were nearly unanimous within the business community, with all parties including importers, clearance agents, and foreign companies all requesting a delay, said Khaled Nassif, a technology advisor to the Egyptian Company for E-commerce Technology (MTS), a majority state-owned company that is in charge of getting the new system up and running.

Where we are so far: Nafeza now has nearly 7.7k activated accounts and some 2.2k that are yet to complete their registration, Maait said in the statement. Around 1.5k are currently part of the ongoing pilot phase of the system and have already started using the ACI.

Nafeza is being rolled out in a bid to speed up customs procedures, improve border security and eliminate room to cheat on customs and taxes: Through Nafeza, businesses importing goods at ports will file shipping documents and cargo data digitally and ahead of arrival via the ACI, which is a World Customs Organization (WCO) protocol that runs on blockchain technology. The collected data sets are used to identify high-risk or dangerous cargo prior to loading.

Want a breakdown of all you need to know on how to prepare for the new ACI system? We had an in-depth explainer earlier this month.

IN OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS- Hyundai Rotem will upgrade the 118 km Naga Hammadi-Luxor line’s communication and signalling system, under an agreement with the National Railway Authority worth USD 110 mn, according to a statement.

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