Covid-19 has dashed hopes that South Africa will succeed in speeding up the implementation of its new customs legislation.
Industry role-players have told FTW that the delays have reached an unacceptable point - especially with Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) delayed yet again this year.
But chances of RLA going live on April 20 are very low.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) was not willing to comment on any customs issues or delays at present only saying decisions still had to be made.
Industry, however, is frustrated.
“The reality is that there has just been delay upon delay with the new Customs Acts Programme (NCAP),” said a clearing agent who preferred to remain anonymous. “There is not a single part of this programme that has not been delayed. The new acts are not being implemented and by the time they do get around to it these laws and regulations will be outdated as the trade environment would have changed so dramatically again considering it has been 15 years already and no implementation.”
While NCAP provides for electronic licensing, registration and accreditation, the current legislation requires industry to manually do this in person at a customs office using reams of paper.
“We have to physically go into a customs office and stand in a queue and give them the same information that they already have again. In March industry was told it would be implemented in April, but now who knows,” said another agent.