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Tightening customs control to increase duty revenues

We are extremely satisfied with the results of our Customs modernization program.
Silvio Franco Burity,
Director of Customs, Republic of Angola


After a decade since the end of civil unrest, Angola economy started an intense reconstruction process, boosted by booming economy based on oil exports and diamonds. During this on-going phase, the Angolan economy has increasingly become an important player in Southern Africa international trade, with imports as a critical part of the economy. Thus, controls on imports needed tightening to secure duties and taxes, previously lost.

The government launched a massive customs modernization program, including radical legal changes which could impose large penalties to non-compliant economic operators. Part of this challenge laid in communicating new obligations to importers with appropriate dissemination.


Since January 2002, Bureau Veritas has been contracted to conduct Pre-Shipment Inspections (PSI) for the Angolan Government. The main objective was to tighten customs controls to increase revenues from duties and taxes on goods entering Angola. Bureau Veritas implemented a dedicated structure in Angola with 60 employees in the capital Luanda and nearly 30 additional employees in 5 provinces: Cabinda and Soyo in the North, Lobito in the South, Namibe further South and Santa Clara at the border with Namibia.

Bureau Veritas built up a comprehensive database relating to import certificates issued which it, continuously shares with customs authorities as well as other offices in Angola. In parallel, Bureau Veritas became responsible for communicating to both importers and exporters all new regulations established by Angolan Authorities.

Seminars and workshops were held to raise the understanding of the new obligations, not only in Angola but also in some of its key trade partner nations: Portugal, South Africa, and Brazil. Bureau Veritas approach is to treat importers as clients, supporting their needs to understand all new regulations and increase awareness to avoid penalties and delays.

Bureau Veritas worldwide network has been greatly appreciated by the client; the network structure was adapted to suit Angola´s needs. Customs officials have received necessary training and Bureau Veritas continuously shares information to support controls.


The Angolan Customs authorities report excellent results after the implementation of their modernization program. From revenue receipts of $200 million on imports in 2002, the figure rose to $3.797 billion in 2010, a remarkable improvement of nearly 1800% in 7 years. Tighter legal, and customs controls have led to greater confidence in trading with the country. Correct revenues are being paid and it is widely recognised that they are contributing to the financial health of the nation’s economy.

The speed of processing imports also improved, dropping from an average of 40 days to 10-15 days currently.  Close communication with importers and exporters reduced misinterpretation of legal obligations. Angola also benefits from detailed reporting of inspection certificates, a comprehensive and updated valuation database of imported goods, as well as online access to documents related to imports subject to PSI. Permanent communication between Customs officials and Bureau Veritas proved to be beneficial for this partnership.

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Client: Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Angola
Client industry: CUSTOMS
Client size:
> Imports $18.1 billion FOB*  
> Exports $52.3 billion FOB*
> GDP Avg. growth 2011-2010: 11.1%
*Source Angolan Customs Report 2012
Client profile:
As Angola enjoys a decade of peace and booming economy boosted mainly by oil sector, the Ministry of Finance has taken several measures within Customs to ensure  the proper collection of duties and taxes.

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