Afghanistan implements E-Pay of customs duties nationwide
Traders across Afghanistan will soon have the opportunity to pay customs duties electronically through any commercial bank. This will eliminate the need to pay with cash at the specific customs sites to clear the goods.
“Traders have traditionally paid customs duties in cash. This new system will allow them to pay fees at any bank in Afghanistan,” said Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi. “Trade is vital to our economy and E-pay will help traders to do business more quickly and easily.” said Minister of Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi.
The Afghanistan Customs Department (ACD) and Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), with support from USAID’s Afghanistan Trade and Revenue project, implemented the first electronic payment of customs duties, called E-Pay, in Kabul and Mazar-i Sharif in 2015. Almost 25 percent of all customs duties paid at Hamid Karzai International Airport are now paid through E-Pay.
In June 2016, ACD and DAB started phasing in E-Pay in other locations across the country, including at Andkhoy, Herat, Islamqala, Torghundai, Nangarhar, Torkham, Kandahar, Weesh, Khost, Nimoroz, and Kunduz. This rollout will result in the nationwide implementation of E-Pay.
“This is a major step toward aligning Afghanistan with international best practices and facilitating trade,” said USAID Mission Director Herbert Smith. “E-Pay helps traders save time, improve security, and reduce opportunities for corruption.”
E-Pay eliminates the need for a trader to pay cash at the DAB branch located at the customs site processing the customs declaration. E-pay also helps automate the collection of customs duties, speeds the release of goods, and is considered a best practice for modern customs administrations. ACD collects almost 50 percent of the Afghan government’s revenue.
USAID’s Afghanistan Trade and Revenue project worked closely with ACD to launch E-Pay and is supporting ACD in other customs reforms. The project is also helping Afghanistan in its accession to the World Trade Organization and in improving regional trade relationships.
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