Staple food items*


Basic information


Outline of the system

The import licensing system is regulated by Law No. 31/79 established all goods subject to import licensing. A single application form needs to be completed and submitted to the Ministry of Trade and Industries. The Ministry issues a General Import Licence to shop owners, tourist resorts, hotels and registered bonded warehouses.


Product coverage

The Ministry of Trade and Industries operates a non-automatic licensing system. General licences are issued to those individuals and companies that have a valid business permit to sell the imported items. However, any registered business or enterprise such as local investments and foreign investments, can apply for an import licence to import materials required for that business. Individuals can also apply for an import license without the import permit mentioned above up to MRf 2000.- to import items for personal consumption.

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

The licensing system is set to up to monitor those who import the merchandise into the country has necessary permits to sell such items.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

See answers 6.1-6.11


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The system applies to goods originating from all countries except Iraq, Serbia and Montenegro, import of whose products are prohibited as per international obligations.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Eligibility of applicants


Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?


What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?

Licences are issued to those individuals, firms and companies who have a registered business or those who have registered a business under a government department. Licences are also issued to those who need to import items for their personal consumption, upon request.


Is there a registration fee?


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

Contact point for information on eligibility










E-mail address




Contact officer

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

No other documents are required to be submitted with application form. For those applicants who do not have the necessary business permits shall provide a list of the items that need to be imported when applying for licence.

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?


Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

No administration fee is charged, however a revenue stamp equivalent to 0.1 per cent of the import value needs to be submitted.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?



Amount or rate?


Is it refundable?


What is the period of retention?


What is the purpose of this requirement?

Refusal of an application


Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?

No applications have been refused other than the failure to meet the ordinary criteria.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

Reasons for refusal are always made known to the applicant.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?



If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

In the event of an application the applicant has the right to appeal to the Ministry of Trade and Industries.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?


What documents are required upon actual importation?

Commercial invoices, licence issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industries and other relevant documents such as bill of lading are the documents that need to be submitted to the Customs in order to clear the goods.


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?


Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

Licences are valid for one year.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?



Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

It is an offence to import products using another person’s licence.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

Foreign exchange is provided by the banking authorities subject to availability.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?

The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)


Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?

Information pertaining to quotas and the application procedures are broadcast through television, radio and the newspapers. The total quota amount is made known to all applicants to the quota. No country specific quotas are established. The maximum amount allocated to each importer is also announced. There is no derogation or exceptions from the licensing system.


Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?

The quotas are only set for staple food items and are determined on an annual basis. The quota is divided on a three-monthly basis. The importer is required to fulfill 100% of the quota amount for the first three months period before the end March, to be eligible for the next nine months and the following year's quota. The licences issued to import food items are issued for one year.


Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)

No differentiation is made when issuing licences. Licences issued by Ministry are issued for the entire year and are open general licences. Quotas are allotted to those who have the necessary storage facilities such as go downs and the distribution facilities. Any unused allocation cannot be added to the quotas for a succeeding period.


From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?

The Customs keep a record of all the quota holders and the quota allocated to them and checks the quota amount imported by the quota holders. Any unused allocation is not added to the quotas for a succeeding period.


What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?

Applications must be normally submitted within ten to twenty days from the date of announcement of the quota.


How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?

When the deadline is up all applications are processed immediately. Import licences are granted simultaneously as the opening of the quota.


Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?

One administrative body grants licences.


If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?

Licences are granted based on past performance. The requirement is that the applicant has the facilities to store imported items and also whether the importers have had previous experience in selling such items based on the above criteria. The quota will be divided equally among all eligible applicants. No maximum amount per applicant is allocated. All applicants who are new importers must also have the necessary facilities to store the imported items. All applications are processed simultaneously.


In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?

Quota holders are able to obtain import license automatically.


In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?

Not applicable.


Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?

No licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market.