Cost of Indecision

South Africa: Ministers are invisible bottleneck in customs duties decisions

By David Whitehouse

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on August 17, 2022 04:05

South Africa’s finance minister presents 2022 budget
The role of South African finance ministers in ITAC decisions is unclear. Enoch Godongwana here presents his 2022 budget. REUTERS/Shelley Christians

South Africa’s slow decisions on customs duties are hurting the economy, with the unclear role of finance and trade ministers causing most of the damage, XA Global Trade Advisors CEO Donald MacKay told an online briefing.

Companies seeking either relief on customs duties in the absence of local suppliers, or their imposition to protect local industry, face an “opaque” process with no clear timetable or information requirements, MacKay says.

MacKay’s company XA Global Trade Advisors has published its first Open Cases Report on the issue. South Africa collects around 55b rand (US$3.3bn) a year in customs duties, and more than 5% of that is tied up in the “cost of indecision,” the report says. The state misses out on collecting R1.25bn in duties that would have been received if higher duties were agreed to and implemented on time, while a further $2bn is collected in duties for goods which are not made locally.

Between 2015 and 2020, the average time for tariff investigations increased to 320 days from 191 days between 2009 and 2014. The report will be updated in coming months with data through to 2022, and

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime