NRA Introduces New Payment Method for ASYCUDA Procedure for Clearing and Forwarding Agents

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In the past, the consignee, the clearing and forwarding agent had a dedicated account in which he deposited payments from his clients for the clearing of goods. When they want to do a declaration to the ASYCUDA system, they do the payment through a credit system from their accounts to the ASYCUDA accounts. If an agent for instance is expected to clear 2 containers for 2 different importers, the experience was one of them may have done an incomplete payment into the agent’s account. So when the money is transferred from the account of the agent to the ASYCUDA account, the system will show ‘insufficient credit’. To correct this, it will result into delays and other problems in the system.
With the new system, clearing and forwarding agents do not need a dedicated account and do not need to collect payments from 4 or 5 of their clients before they make a declaration to the ASYCUDA system. They can do payment straight to the bank for each of their clients.
The new payment method has minimised false declaration, misclassification of goods and undervaluation, Mohamed Bangura said.  The revenue authority on the request of clearing and forwarding agents recently organised a training workshop for them on the new Clearing and Forwarding Regulation approved by parliament in January this year. NRA approached Adam Smith International to do the training. The regulation stipulates who should act as a clearing and forwarding agent, what should be the bond security and ensure a would-be clearing and forwarding agent faces an NRA panel before the individual is allowed to operate. This has curtailed in a way the fleecing of business people by so-called agents in the past, Mr. Bangura said.
The regulation is also there to ensure not every Koloneh, Batilo, or Bailor operates around the Queen Elizabeth Quay as a clearing and forwarding agent unless the person has some level of education and fulfils the bond criterion.