TANZANIA Freight Forwarders Association (TAFA) has urged the government to postpone the introduction of Single Customs Territory (SCT) to give room for stakeholders’ opinions.
The TAFA President, Mr Steven Ngatunga told reporters over the weekend that the SCT set to take off next month came as a surprise to them despite the fact that they are crucial stakeholders.
“We are not opposing the move that aims at connecting all the East African Community (EAC) countries on matters related to customs, but we were not involved in the process and we see a lot of challenges ahead,” he said.
Mr Ngatunga who was accompanied by the TAFA Member of Council, Mr Peter Asenga, said they had come to Dodoma to meet the Minister for East Africa Cooperation, Minister for Finance and Minister for Transport to make their point as to why the SCT should be delayed.
He noted further that prior to establishment of the territory a law should have been formed to guide its operations including putting clear punishments to those who may dump consignments in unintended country.
“We are having the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 but need another law to guide issues to do with SCT because some businessmen may resolve into dumping consignments in unintended country and we thus need to know what legal measures will be taken,” he said.
He also pointed out that issues to do with harmonization of custom systems and taxation systems in the region had to be taken to consideration first before the SCT starts.
He pointed out that already in Kenya the system which became operational in December last year was faced with a number of challenges and almost failing because preparations were not made. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda started to implement the SCT last year and Tanzania was left out.
President Jakaya Kikwete told Parliament in November last year that the three countries were wrong to isolate Tanzania from SCT because it was part of the implementation of the EAC Customs Union protocol that Tanzania is a signatory and has participated fully in implementing it from the beginning.
It was later announced that Tanzania would join SCT in July. Mr Peter Asenga noted that SCT will allow the deployment of revenue officers of EAC landlocked countries at the Dar es Salaam Port to collect revenue for goods destined for their respective countries.
“We do not see the need of having revenue officers from landlocked countries in Dar es Salaam Port because under the setting all inspections are due to be made at the destination,” he said.
Source: Daily News
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