Tag Archive | SADC

New Customs Duty Bill opposed by BUSA

SARS customs duty bill to close inland ports…

portsharboursThe newly tabled  Customs Duty Bill, with its two enabling Bills, were the subject of  vehement objections from Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce (JCCI) and Business Unity SA (BUSA), who both led the charge against the SARS proposals tabled by National Treasury.

This was in the  in the form of the vehement objections to the Customs Duty Bill, the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill and the Customs Control Bill, which propose that the principle of inland ports be scrapped and all clearances for imported goods be conducted at SA coastal locations.

Nevertheless, the Bills were eventually passed before the present government ended after an extended session of the NCOP to provide concurrence.

JCCI said that this would not only upset SADC and sub-Saharan  importers but also cause unintended consequences such as the “death of such inland ports as City Deep in Johannesburg” aside from inconveniencing local importers generally.

They said that many importers having now to be responsible for the movement of goods up the Durban/Johannesburg corridor would switch from rail to road freight to complete the import journey, thus placing further strain on Durban /Johannesburg road systems.

Transnet to become nonviable

Such unintended consequences , it was felt by JCCI, whilst of no consequence to SARS who were obviously only interested in the current losses of tax revenues by evasion, illegal imports  and corruption would result in serious strain for existing importers and make Transnet targets impossible.

Also, they said in their submission, the moves would cause further congestions at coastal ports and that the SARS proposals were in conflict with normal practices allowed for by the WTO.

Currently, JCCI told parliamentarians, only 20% of imports were being received through the Durban/Johannesburg corridor destined for movement by Transnet, who were in the process of spending enormous sums of money on infrastructure and rolling stock to change this imbalance. Now was not the time to encourage more road freight, they said.

BUSA weighs in

BUSA said that such radical changes of insisting that the three day customs clearance required by importers at port of entry, if construed as coastal only, was an unacceptable arrangement and although two alternative options were offered by SARS, neither had been found to be acceptable.

It was the wrong time to make such changes, said BUSA, and SARS should re-consider its approach and new ways found to reduce their losses of revenue in duty.

Also BUSA complained of the high penalties proposed for late clearances of goods if the proposed three day notice was not met and that new approaches should be considered generally that incorporated and embraced the concepts declared by the minister of trade and industry who has stated he wants to increase South Africa’s sub-Saharan business.

The concept of removing City Deep as a customs clearance point was akin to changing a practice that had existed for 37 years, JCCI noted.

SARS unmoved by the arguments presented.

(SARS responses to these submissions is in a later story on this website)

Earlier articles on this subject:
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/fueloilrenewables/illegal-diesel-coming-in-from-mozambique/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//finance-economic/one-stop-border-post-with-mozambique-almost-there/

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Grand Inga hydroelectric under way at last

A cabinet statement confirmed that South Africa had approved the treaty with the DRC involving the Grand Inga Project, a hydroelectric power project with a potential of as much as 40 000 MW of capacity to be developed on the Congo river.

The treaty, the South African government said, created an enabling framework, linking the DRC and South Africa in a mega project which had the potential to involve most of Africa.

The treaty, the cabinet statement said, would allow for the two countries to jointly explore different economically feasible options for the development of what could emerge as the largest-ever cross-border energy project undertaken in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Cabinet said the two countries would also seek support for the initiative from other African countries, especially from its partners in the SADC region, earlier projects known as Inga I and Inga II which were started as early as the 1970s.

The new involvement, commonly known as Inga III, has involved Eskom from the start for some years ago but the DRC government has repeatedly pulled out of subsequent financial arrangements with its Namibian, Botswana and Angola partners. Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, now replaced, said that “different times” and “different dynamics” had led to disruptions in gaining traction with the project but which was now going ahead.

“The South Africa government is confident of delivering this time around”, he said.

However, not clear at all is the fact as to whether the Grand Inga Project will be written into the proposed final SA Integrated Resource Plan, the initial capacity of hydroelectric power in terms of this currently being expected to flow from countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.

However, both President Zuma and Minister Dipuo Peters have indicated that Grand Inga “is receiving priority attention”. It is understood from separate reports put before Parliament that Eskom has entered into agreements with French partners.

CEO Brian Dames was recently quoted as saying that initiatives were under way for the creation of a high-voltage “super grid” across Southern Africa by 2030, Eskom however mentioning in other presentations that major interconnections with Africa continental power grid projects could happen of which the Grand Inga could be a part.

The cabinet statement limited itself to purely to the aspects of South African/DRC relationships, both Zuma and Peters having been signatories to such an agreement.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments

Get SADC Free Trade Agreement right first, Davies warns

Minister of trade and industry, Dr Rob Davies, told media and conference delegates in Cape Town, that South Africa had to focus first on consolidate on Southern African sub-Sahara free trade agreements before it tried to capitalize on the boom it might be experiencing in other areas of Africa.

Giving this warning, minister Davies told delegates that South Africa had experienced a “growth spurt” which he said had been driven by a boom in the export of mineral commodities; an increase in the number infrastructure investments, coupled with further investment on existing projects. He said there had been improved economic governance in African countries generally.

In an upbeat address, the normally taciturn Davies told the sixth Africa Economic Forum in Cape Town this week that in this context South Africa had seemingly in part weathered the international economic crisis.

“We have realised for a long time that the African continent is inextricably linked to our own destiny”, he said and this boom, which may not last, “will have to be turned into commodities-driven growth with a serious effort to create value-added products”.

Davies said that an initial tool to promote further regional trade was the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would be fully implemented during the current year, allowing for over 90% duty-free trade between SADC countries. Building on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the East African Community could be built on in time and ultimately extended to the entire African continent, he said.

Davies went on to say that beneficiation of commodities, promoting agro-processing, and pharmaceutical production in a market place of extreme demand were obvious opportunities but he emphasised that the first priority lay nearer at home.

He noted that initially South Africa had to consolidate the SADC FTA before SA moved more extensively into the rest of the continent.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Finance, economic, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments


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