Tour of the Director General of Customs in Pointe-Noire and Kouilou

Guénolé Mbongo Koumou determined to meet the challenges
05 Apr, 2019

Guénolé Mbongo Koumou, Directorate General of Customs does not want to miss the boat. In the footsteps of his tutelage Ministry, the Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxation is determined to meet the objectives set by the Government to the Administration for which it is responsible to conduct the destiny. The Congolese Minister of Customs carried out, from Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 March 2019 a working mission in Pointe-Noire and Kouilou divisions. Considering the fruitful discussion with the divisional authorities, economic operators and executives under supervision, it appeared that the harvest has been very good, both the prospects and commitments made by some, and the others, are decisive and very encouraging. 


Strategies and methods adopted to carry out this mission will undoubtedly have paid off. Accompanied by some central directors and other officials of the customs administration including the president of interunion, Director General Guénolé Mbongo Koumou, managed to reconcile authority, expertise, intelligence, wisdom and pedagogy while discussing with the various interlocutors.

Courtesies to divisional authorities of Pointe-Noire and Kouilou, to Major General commanding the military defence zone N0.1. Working session with the Directorate General of the Port Authority of Pointe-Noire. Visit of certain sites like CORAF, ILLOG'S, Airport Customs Main Foreign Office, Tchiamba-Nzassi Border Control post and other sister administrations installed in the locality such as the Congolese Armed Forces (FAC) Detachment; security, immigration, trade services... so many structures visited! The Director General of customs and Indirect Taxation discussed, in a very sincere, open, fluid and beneficial way with the officials. 


Dismantling fraud and illegal trade in certain goods


At the Tchiamba-Nzassi customs post, on the border with angolan province of Cabinda, the insight of Congolese customs officers enabled to detecting and unmask fraud and illigal trade in certain goods. In supposed box containing powdered milk, for example, it is rather plastic sachet and bags that are fraudulently trafficked, whereas they are products prohibited in Congo. An other illegal procedure is to hide these plastic bags in packages that passed for cassava bread, thus escaping to searches and customs controls.

Also, crushed sugar is trafficked in cans of 25 kilos, giving the impression that it is cooking oil.  These illegally trafficked goods, once on the market, maintain unfair competition to importers and traders that pay their taxes on a daily basis. The same applies to products such as roasted or ground coffee. These products, for the most part, are unfit for consumption!


Discussion with economic operators


The Congolese economy is facing some difficulties dating back to 2014. This is because of the fall in oil prices, the raw material of which this economy has long been dependent.  The State is therefore looking for the necessary means to finance the budget. And the Ministry of Finance and Budget's mission is to mobilize external ressources, customs revenue, as well as tax revenue to enable the Government to finance public expenditure.  

As the Customs Administration is a Border Administration, it plays a decisive role because it has to provide the State with customs revenue.  At the same time, it is directly in contact with investors. 

However, for an investor to come in Congo, it takes a healthy environment and a business climate conducive to investment. In order to import, there must be fewer problems for customs clearance at the Port Authority of Pointe-Noire. 

However, today we see a drastic drop in imports because of the crisis. As a matter of fact, the crisis does not explain everything. There is a crisis, but there is also people's behavior, Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxation, Mr. Guénolé Mbongo Koumou said. Because even the traders who used to import to Congo no longer do so, because there is a parafiscal situation that needs to be controlled, and which has been described by DGDDI as anti-value at a given level, such as that of the Administration. 

During the discussions with economic operators (freight fowarders, importers and other traders), the Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxation has been enlightened and learnt about the difficulties and other problems faced by the latter on a daily basis. In particular the issue of loss of time due to administrative slowness, some taxes and expenses deemed unnecessary by these economic operators. The issue of the one-stop clearance office of cross-border operations (GUOT) under the Ministry of Transports was also raised. According to the economic operators, instead of being a formality simplification structure and other operations, GUOT is seen as another bottleneck.

Yet, both on the Customs Administration and economic operators side, all agree to recognize that without operators, there are no importers; without imports, no activities in the Port, and therefore no customs revenue either. An irrefutable reality to which Director General Guénolé Mbongo Koumou invited both to understand and internalize.  

Congo needs economic operators, the Director General of Congolese Customs added.  To do this, it is necessary to ensure a business climate conducive to investments in order to attract more investors. Moreover, Guénolé Mbongo Koumou said that the Doing Business ranking for Congo testifies to what economic operators mention as harassment, justiying moreover the decline in the competitiveness of the Port Authority of Pointe-Noire.

Just like the feedback clearly expressed by economic opearators who greet the quickness, the big capacity in the listening and the dynamism of the Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxation, he was also pleased to have frankly discussed with this category of interlocutors. These discussions enabled him to have an in-depth understanding of their difficulties and problems to ensure that, together, they all work to make the Port Authority of Pointe-Noire competitive. This implies import-generating customs revenues.


Meeting with Customs Agent and Officers


With the customs officers and agents of Pointe-Noire and Kouilou, it was not a communication; this was already made in February 2019 by the tutelage Ministry. For the head of Customs Administration of Congo, it was more a question of having a full-fledged discussion, because it was important to listen officers and agents who are on the ground and actually facing many specific problems, among other, the lack of means. 

In an authoritative, commanding, and then pedagogical style of knowledge and know-how, the DGDDI called on his collaborators to root out deviant behaviors that do not promote a conducive business climate. 

Guénolé Mbongo Koumou reminded the customs officers of Pointe-Noire and Kouilou that Congo is experiencing difficulties at this time, and the country relies on the Customs Administration to bail out the coffers of the State. It is true that customs offcicers are already working very hard. But these efforts must be pursued, strengthened, consolidated and amplified so that the Customs Administration is the powerhouse of “the March toward development”, the social project of the President of the Republic, Head of State, Denis Sassou-N'Guesso, which has become a government's agenda.

It is certainly in this perspective that the President of the Republic recently signed a decree that at the Port Authority of Pointe-Noire, there remains the customs administration to carry out the controls. Not all other administrations have a place. Because, there are too many players involved in the Authority Port of Pointe-Noire, resulting in a disproportionate parafiscal burden on imports. This situation is now a thing of the past, since it is regulated  by the recent decree signed by the Head of State of Congo. All these other actors were taken out of the Port. 

As the customs administration is the nourrishing nipple of the State, the Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxation urged the agents under tutelage to courage, punctuality, attendance, self-denial and seriousness at work, to meet the challenges and objectives set by the Government.  


The Press office of the Ministry of Finance

Sub Category:CUSTOMS