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Customs lifts stringent preconditions on automobiles traversing Ethio-Djibouti borders

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Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) lifts its precondition imposed on automobiles coming from Djibouti.
The commission a few months back had applied a stringent new system that forced incoming and outgoing private automobiles to deposit customs duty and tax of cars at the customs gate, or provision of a bank guarantee to enter Ethiopia’s border and or to Djibouti.
The new scheme was met with much displeasure by Djiboutian citizens who prefer to travel to Ethiopia during the heavy hot summer season as well as for personal reasons or business trip during any time of the year.
Those who Capital spoke to regarding the matter and who in fact have close relatives with Ethiopian citizenship, indicated that in the past such precondition were non-existent in terms of crossing the Ethiopian border and staying in the country.
They stated that the new scheme has become a huge obstacle in their movements in recent months.
However, ECC on the other hand claims that the new system was imposed for due diligence, in order for the commission to know the incoming cars to combat illegal activities in the process.
The commission disclosed that depositing customs duty and tax arrears or bring bank guarantee will allow to control cars that are coming in and out, to leave the country as per the time frame permitted to stay in Ethiopia.
It added that the target was to impose such a system for cars that entered the country with a tourism purpose in order for them not to leave the country without settlement of relevant levy as well as in combating illegal activity.
The issue was heavily raised and discussed upon in the latest joint ministerial committee meeting. At the meeting, the Djiboutian side cited that the new scheme would affect the relationship of the two countries.
The issue had also been one of the agenda items on the meeting of the two countries customs technical committee.
Both sides agreed to apply on another controlling mechanism to tackle the potential problems regarding the concern of ECC.
As per the decision, the two sides agreed that detailed information of automobiles be registered on the system with the data shared between the two countries.
According to the letter that was issued a week ago from ECC, the precondition which was earlier imposed has been lifted.
The letter that was signed by Debele Kabeta, Commissioner of ECC, and sent to ECC branches including in Djibouti and Tadjoura indicated that Djibouti’s Customs and Excise Tax Administration will provide information about private automobiles that enter to Ethiopia.
It added that customs branches are now supposed to fill information on the relevant technologically based system and to follow up the automobiles which leave the country as per the permitted period.
It also underlined for the relevant division of the commission to improve the system that shall share information with Djibouti’s counterpart.
It is to be recalled that Capital recently reported that in the latest meeting had between the two countries, officials also agreed to lift the request for a harmonized system code and area code that was applied by Djiboutian Customs a few months back.

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