Four East African countries on Tuesday agreed to fast-track implementation of a common customs and transit cargo control framework to enhance regional trade.
Commissioners-general from the Kenyan, Ugandan, Rwandan and Tanzanian revenue authorities said adoption of an excise goods management system would curb illicit trade in goods that attract excise duty across borders.
They said creation of a single regional bond for goods in transit would ease movement of cargo, with taxation being done at the first customs port of entry.
The meeting held in Nairobi supported formation of the Single Customs Territory, terming it a useful measure that will ease clearance of goods and reduce protectionist tendencies, thereby boosting business.
Implementation of the territory is being handled in three phases; the first will address bulk cargo such as fuel, wheat grain and clinker used in cement manufacturing.
ENHANCE REVENUE COLLECTION
Phase two will handle containerised cargo and motor vehicles, while the third will deal with intra-regional trade among countries implementing the arrangement.
The treaty for establishment of the East African Community provides that a customs union shall be the first stage in the process of economic integration.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner-general John Njiraini said the recently introduced customs and border control regulations were designed to enhance revenue collection and beef up security at the entry points.
“At KRA, we have commenced the implementation of a number of revenue enhancement programmes particularly on the customs and border control front that will address security and revenue collection at all border points while enhancing swift movement of goods,” he said.
To address cargo diversion cases, the regional revenue authorities resolved that a joint programme be rolled out to reform transit goods clearance and monitoring processes.