East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 2nd November, 2018: The East African Community has fully operationalized and trained personnel at 13 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) that are aimed at the facilitating trade and free movement of goods in the region.
The operationalization and training of personnel at the OSBPs has significantly reduced the time taken by travellers and trucks at the borders from days to about 1.5 minutes to 30 minutes on average respectively.
The EAC with the support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is finalizing the completion of the Malaba OSBP on the Kenya-Uganda border at a cost of US$7.5 million.
The Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority, Mr. John Njiraini, who briefed the media on behalf of his colleagues after a two-day meeting of the EAC Committee on Customs at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, further said that TMEA was supporting the construction of OSBPs at Elegu/Nimule (Uganda/South Sudan Border), Tunduma’Nakonde (Tanzania/Zambia) and Moyale (Kenya/Ethiopia).
“We recognize that trade is global. Therefore, as much as we smoothen the flow of trade within the EAC, we intend to ensure the flow out and into EAC bourndaries with neighbouring countries is smoothened,” said Mr. Njiraini, who was flanked by among others Commissioner General Charles Kichere (Tanzania Revenue Authority) and Dickson Kateshumbwa (Acting Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority), and Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the Director General, Customs and Trade at the EAC Secretariat.
The meeting drew participation from Commissioners General and Commissioners of Customs in the EAC Partner States.
Mr. Njiraini disclosed that in order to resolve the problem of lack of information to business, Trade Information Portals (TIPs) had been installed in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
“Tanzania is in the process of establishing the trade portal. The TIPs will also be installed at a later stage in Burundi and South Sudan. The link of the EAC Trade Portal is http://tradehelpdeask.eac.int,“ said the KRA Commissioner General.
“We urge businesspoeple to start using these tools and propose how procedures can be simplified. It will be developed as a regional trade facilitation index given its ability to facilitate decision making and implementation of trade reforms,” he said.
The tax chiefs noted that the Single Customs Territory (SCT) had registered remarkable benefits since its implementation in July 2014.
“So far, all imports are cleared under the Single Customs Territory Framework and clearance time has significantly reduced for both ports and Customs. Currenlty, the region is piloting undertaking exports under the Single Customs Territory,” they said.
The rollout of the export regime under SCT commenced on 20th July, 2018 on a pilot basis. The pilot run involves clearance of selected export goods through the Northern Corridor and the Port of Mombasa. As at 22nd October, 2018, the Uganda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority were already involved in implementing the SCT exports pilot.
On Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the Commissioners General and Commissioners of Customs said that they were working closely to streamline the process of conducting trade in the region.
The Commissioners revealed that they were in the process of review the EAC Customs Management Act (EACCMA 2014) which has been in force since the commencement of the EAC in 2000.
“So far, the Partner States have submitted draft proposals which were considered in a meeting held on 31stJuly to 4thAugust, 2018. A lot of progress has been made through further inputs into the Partner States proposals as well as identification of new areas that require information of new regulations i.e. deployment of staff under the SCT, guidelines on the customs valuation of used items, additional export promotion schemes, and compliant trader programme,” they said.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified