A NEWLY designed Short Messaging Service for reporting trade barriers within the tripartite regional economic blocs has been launched.
The SMS will supplement the web based online system for reporting, monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) used by Comesa, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
The tripartite online reporting system is a real-time, mechanism for reporting, processing, monitoring and resolving NTBs. It was operationalised in November 2010.
The online mechanism has been instrumental in assisting the region to understand the kind, frequency and category of NTBs that are encountered by economic operators as they are doing their business in the tripartite region. These include road blocks, delays in processing export/import documentations and permits among others.
The SMS tool is now being rolled out to Comesa member states as part of capacity building and empowerment to manage NTBs and fast tracking their removal.
Economic operators who encounter NTBs will be able to send an SMS to the central number, which will in turn relay messages to identified focal points numbers and the online reporting system.
The Union of the Comoros was the first country to launch the new NTB SMS tool on 21 April 2017 during a ceremony presided over by the director general of customs Mr Kamalidini Souef, on behalf the vice president in charge of the economy and foreign trade, Mr Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassan.