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Thursday, 2 September 2021

Another landmark in the tax overhaul: FinMin issues official Customs Act exec regs

The final executive regulations of the Customs Act have been issued by the Finance Ministry and were published (pdf) in the Official Gazette on Tuesday. The exec regs’ arrival marks the latest landmark in implementing the recently-approved Customs Act, which came into effect late last year and aims to expedite customs clearance.

What do they say? The new regs lay out how Nafeza, the Customs Authority’s new Advance Cargo Information (ACI) pre-registration system, will work. They also outline instructions for businesses importing goods at ports on accessing and using the platform to file and pay all types of shipping dues, as well as filing shipping documents and cargo data digitally ahead of arrival. Elsewhere, the regs set down customs tax breaks for tourists and Egyptians coming from abroad.

The new system hasn’t been without controversy: The government tweaked the exec regs twice, in November and then in February, in response to complaints from exporters, shipping agencies and customs brokers after the Customs Act came into force. The business community hasn’t been an enthusiastic adopter of Nafeza so far either, with importers and exporters repeatedly lobbying for extensions to its implementation deadline. Nafeza goes online on 1 October — a deadline by which anyone who has not signed up for it will not be allowed to clear imported goods out of customs at seaports, Minister Mohamed Maait said during a roundtable last week.

Lost in transit? Learn more about the Customs Act here and Nafeza here.

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