The Information Network Security Agency (INSA), which is mandated to grant security clearance to specific ICT equipment imported to the country, has suddenly suspended its activities two weeks ago leaving importers in complete disarray, The Reporter has learnt.
The notice issued to importers almost two weeks ago by INSA read that it has suspended the routine authorization of equipments deemed sensitive from a security point of view.
Under normal circumstances, importers have been able to clear servers, routers, network switches and the like after having inspected their equipment by the Agency. The abrupt interruption that was made by INSA has resulted in unnecessary delays in customs clearance and late penalties.
According to The Reporter’s sources at INSA, who are not authorized to speak on the matter, a letter has been issued to delegate the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) to handle the clearance and authorization procedures in time of the interruption. The letter was issued on April 5, sources said. Yet, the letter was misplaced and yet another one had to be faxed to ERCA this week on Wednesday temporarily delegating ERCA to do the inspection and grant clearance to importers, sources told The Reporter. The suspension of INSA’s activities still stands and that it is going to say in place for an indefinite timeframe.
Gebrehiwot Gebreselassie, General Manager of Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Customs Office, however, is more forthcoming as to why INSA had to suspend its duties. He told The Reporter that INSA has notified ERCA to process clearance and inspect the security-sensitive equipments until the latter completes undertaking a major overhaul in its system of handling security clearances and its inspection tasks.
Following the request, according to Gebrehiwot, the congestion at customs office has been cleared and normal activities have resumed.
According to sources, some of the ICT equipment stranded for days at the Bole Customs Office included some servers destined to replace outdated ones in some local banks.