Angola is adopting an electronic payment system to facilitate the registration for import, export, and re-export trade, a process known to be strenuous due to bureaucracy in the administrative procedures. The new payment system was introduced by the country’s Ministry of Commerce.

According to the Ministry’s Director for the Information Technology Office, Domingos Alexandre, the innovation is part of the new payment system through the Integrated Foreign Trade System (Sicoex), which was launched back in 2015 to provide support for traders.

With the new system, payment during registration will be made through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Internet banking platforms, express multi-box, among other banking tools, Alexandre said at a meeting organized to introduce the software to members of the Chamber of Official Brokers.

The new procedure represents a welcome upgrade on the current payment system that requires dispatchers to resort to fiscal districts to make the payment after which they bring the proofs to the Ministry of Commerce to be launched in the importers’ process.

On the benefits of the new payment system, the representative of the Chamber of Official Brokers, Luís Chagas Januário, noted that it will reduce time, avoid paper transportation and speed up the process.

The process of importing goods into Angola is reportedly time-consuming and highly bureaucratic. In the category of Trading Across Borders, the World Bank Doing Business 2019 ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide at 174 out of 190 countries assessed.

Moreover, import procedures in Angola require an estimated $460 and 96 hours for import document compliance.  In comparison regionally, sub-Saharan Africa averages $283.5 and 97.7 hours for import document compliance.

Apart from easing the import registration process, the electronic payment system will also make it easier to obtain statistical data on the number of importers, brokers, and quantities of products moving in the country.

Angola currently has over 100 licensed brokers for commercial activity. Alexandre added that brokers and importers must have a maximum current account balance of AKZ 100,000, and in each license, one thousand kwanzas will be paid.

The country has also been working on launching a mobile payment system for the population. The administrator of the National Bank of Angola, Pedro de Castro e Silva, last November said that the central bank started collaborating with World Bank to introduce legislation authorizing mobile payments in the country in March 2018. The new service is expected to launch before year-end.

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