Aug 8, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

DR Congo cancels 14 customs levies in bid to smooth trade

The DRC’s Ministry of Commerce has ordered the lifting of 14 levies on exports and imports and the reduction of 20 others at its borders to smooth trade and stamp out “illegal” taxes.

Africa’s largest copper producer and the world’s largest cobalt producer, Congo, is struggling with long lines of trucks transporting metal at its borders, which mining companies blame on poor infrastructure and inefficient customs systems.

The move is targeted aims to “streamline import and export taxes and reduce costs and delays,” wrote Trade Minister Jean-Lucien Bussa Tongba in a July 6 letter to the prime minister, seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

A tax on cobalt concentrate billed by Lualaba province was among 14 levies the Commerce Department said would be reduced. The letter did not specify the tax rate.

While 20 taxes would be reduced, the Department of Commerce said 33 levies – levied by 14 different government agencies – would be kept at the same level.

The tax cuts aim to improve the competitiveness of the Congolese economy and make the country a more attractive place to do business, the letter said. Government departments should be prohibited from imposing tariffs or taxes that are not directly related to a law or prime ministerial decree, it said.

It is not clear when the tax cuts will be implemented. A spokesman for Congolese Customs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.