Launch of the Electronic Certificate of Origin
On 13th February 2014, the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, (TCCIA), launched a new service that enables it to issue electronic Certificates of Origin. This Chamber initiative, greatly contributed to by the UN Volunteer Programme (UNV), provides unique innovative means of redeeming time and reducing costs in issuance of Certificates of Origin. The business community welcomed this innovation and said it helped them in conducting their business with traceable records and at reduced costs.
This service will reduce the time it takes to physically move between different offices collecting documents and to obtain necessary approvals, and will also reduce the cost in doing business that was attributed to manual processing of export documents in terms of administrative bureaucracies and transportation costs.
This online-based issuance of electronic certificates of origin is the first of its kind in East Africa and will enable the exporters clearing and forwarding agents to process Certificates of Origin electronically using their computers, or mobile devices (including tablets and smart phones).
The UN volunteers placed at TCCIA have contributed greatly to building TCCIA's internal capacity to have in-house capability to develop technologies that extend innovative business services to the business community and its membership. Some of the technology based systems developed since the arrival of UN volunteers to the Chamber in 2007, include the SME-SMS helpline, Nationwide Business & Membership Database, Non Tarrif Barriers (NTB) online reporting and Monitoring System and the Electronic Certificate of Origin.
“We appreciate the unique support that the United Nations Volunteers based at TCCIA have contributed in making the Chamber increase its services and support to SMEs in Tanzania”.
Mr. Daniel Machemba, Executive Director of TCCIA.
The launch of the electronic Certificates of Origin service (eCOs) attracted 112 people, amongst them exporters, clearing and forwarding agents, business people, Private Sector Organizations (PSOs), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), development partners, representatives from Embassies and the media. The function was graced by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr Mussa Uledi.
The UNV team at TCCIA are proud to have been actively involved in this innovative electronic certificate of origin idea and see it become nurtured at TCCIA as a sound solution to enhancing the business environment.
Through support received from the ‘Asia-Africa Volunteer Exchange Project’, under which some of the UN Volunteers are posted, the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Industry & Agriculture (TCCIA), has advanced in designing and implementing programs that have further led to attracting support from other Donors, such as the support from Trade Mark East Africa that is attributed to the launch of this Electronic Certificate of Origin. The Asia-Africa Volunteer Exchange Programme is funded by Japan and provides a mechanism for volunteers from Asia to come to Africa and transfer skills and knowledge in the fields of agriculture (Zambia) and the private sector (Tanzania), especially small to medium enterprises. The programme covers both Tanzania and Zambia and is based on a long standing Japanese commitment and interest towards development assistance to Africa which started through such initiatives as the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) in 1993.
Story by United Nations Volunteer Puspa Raj, Bhattarai, UNV IT Specialist,
Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA).