explanations on the customs agreement signed with the Russian economic mission



Customs in Bangui, Central African Republic.


© RFI/Charlotte Cosset
Customs in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Customs revenue represents nearly a third of the Central African State’s budget, but technical and financial partners regularly point to organizational and corruption problems. A customs agreement was signed on May 7 between the Russian economic mission and the Ministry of Finance, but it continues to provoke debates. Last controversy, the video of a UN mission truck searched by Russian partners. The Director General of Customs agreed to respond to RFI.

They are about ten technical advisers. They help in the redeployment of customs officers in the territory, but also in the application of the texts, explains the director general of customs and indirect rights (DGDDI), Frédéric-Théodore Inamo: ” They only regulate the behavior of economic operators by following normal procedures. For them, they are there to say: But, does the text provide for that? Didn’t the text provide for this? Are the Russians helping customs? Yes it helps us. »

Following the signing of this agreement, some political commentators feared that part of these customs taxes would go to Russian partners: “ Never, never that. I can reassure you, says the director of Central African customs. In the MoU, although it is being revised, the Prime Minister has requested an evaluation meeting every evening to see the impact of the mission on customs revenue. »

A widely shared video was also controversial. We see partners of the Russian mission searching a vehicle of the UN mission. “ We do not blame the people in charge of Minusca, but the drivers. When they come with the Minusca vehicles, they arrange with the economic operators to take the surplus from the containers and put them under a tarpaulin to bring it to Bangui. The Russians, when they check and find the goods that the drivers are hiding, it’s still a plus », Explains Frédéric-Théodore Inamo.

In its press briefing last week, Minusca warned of persistent violations of the status of the mission agreement. Among these violations, the UN mission points to systematic blockages of its convoys. Blockades by the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), then the counter-offensive, paralyzed the main supply corridor in the first quarter. But the director general of customs ensures that the delay in collecting customs taxes has already been made up.

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