The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has bowed to pressure about an earlier decision that local traders exporting to Southern Africa Development Community member states apply for the necessary SADC certification at their nearest SARS branches.
A clearing agent explained that effectively it meant exporters could not receive their SADC certificates at the various land border posts any longer – a decision that met with much opposition among the ranks of intra-African traders.
In the latest development, and specifically with reference to a letter of complaints it received on March 17, SARS said it had decided to put on hold the implementation of the contentious decision known as “External Policy – Administration of Trade Agreements (SC-RO-02”).
A letter sent out by the revenue service’s relevant executive for leveraged legal products tax, customs and excise, states: “After careful consideration of your representations, Sars customs have decided to postpone the implementation of the policy.
“The postponement will allow SARS to thoroughly consider some of the proposals made in your letter and, where necessary, hold further deliberations with the industry on the way forward.”
Adding clarity to the collector’s position, the letter furthermore states: “Kindly be informed that the External Policy – Administration of Trade Agreements (SC-RO-02) derives its mandate from the provisions of the Act and in particular rule 49B.10 (9)1(b) (iii) to section 49 of the Act and as such Sars Customs is not capitulating in ultimately enforcing these provisions of the law.
“Take note that the status quo in the processing of certificates of origin in all offices remains until this policy is put into effect. Furthermore, be informed that Sars will timeously give you notice when putting this policy into practice.”
Had SARS proceeded with implementing the policy, it would have meant that exporters would have had to apply for SADC documentation from every place in South Africa from which goods were exported to the SADC, the clearing agent said.The agent added that it beggared belief that such a decision, adding to the physical logistics of export declaration, had been taken at a time when manifests were being moved online anyway. – Freight News