PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


Beverages such as mineral water, soft drinks and beer have been added onto items to be cleared under the Single Customs Territory system, a regional initiative meant to speed up the clearance of goods and quicken revenue collection.

Other goods that have also been cleared under the system include; wines, spirits and plastics.

“Beginning June 16, 2014 the following (goods mentioned above) items imported from Kenya will be cleared using Single Custom Territory (SCT) procedures,” Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) public notice issued early in the week, reads in part.

According to URA, inclusion of more items came after SCT successfully passed the experiment to clear fuel, neutral spirit, cigarettes, and cements from Kenya. Furthermore, clearance of edible oils, steel products, milk and milk products and confectionary into Uganda from Kenya, proved that all items can undergo the same procedure—SCT.

“All exports from Kenya to Uganda shall be cleared under SCT clearance procedures with effect from July 1, 2014. Under SCT clearance procedures, customs declarations are made electronically and are processed and released by URA prior to loading of such goods for export from Kenya,” reads the public notice signed by the commissioner for customs URA, Mr Richard Kamajugo.

Uganda Manufacturers Association advocacy and policy analyst Godfrey Ssali, said in an interview yesterday, that the manufacturers are backing the move to have goods cleared under the SCT. He said: “This is a move in a right direction. We hope that this initiative will further reduce dumping and smuggling and quicken movement of goods across the border and increase revenue collections for the country.”

Despite the good intentions of the SCT, the Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) chairman, Mr Everest Kayondo, said nothing much has been done in terms of sensitisation, leaving traders ignorant of such developments regarding the Single Customs Territory regional initiative.

“Traders have a mixed feeling about SCT because they do not have information. We suggest that sensitisation should not be broadly designed but packaged to suit the interests of the different sectors and industries.

“However, SCT is a good initiative save for lack of information about its operations,” Mr Kayondo said on Tuesday.

Tanzania and Burundi have also joined Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda in implementing the single custom territory (SCT), Uganda Revenue Authority, one of the regional implementing agencies has confirmed.

Until recently, Tanzania and Burundi had been reluctant, saying the initiative (SCT) was arrived at without participation of all the member states, implying that it lacked the regional appeal of the five East African Community EAC member countries.

According to URA, the five EAC member states have now agreed to enforce the SCT initiatives.

The ECT system enables the owners of transit goods as well as the KRA to track physical movement of goods once they have been removed from the port of Mombasa or from their point of loading for export. A device is fitted into the cargo which can then be tracked in real time using a computer. The fitting is done by the transporters and subsequently certified by KRA.

Governments in the region have been losing money as transit goods which have not been charged duty were diverted back into the country. Some local cargo owners have also lost export goods or received the cargo with broken seals.

Source: Business Daily

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