PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


The Single Customs Territory, whose major objective is to overcome the hurdle of slow and costly movement of goods and services and also improve the business environment in the region, is yet to be fully operational even after the lapse of the July 1 deadline.

In the Northern Corridor comprising Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, the SCT project is at an advanced stage after being at the pilot stage for a long time, but not all goods have been added onto it.

Tanzania and Burundi, which make up the Central Corridor, began implementation on July 1 but are piloting with only a few products.

According to Michael Baingana, policy research advisor to the East African Business Council, piloting in the Central Corridor, that is Tanzania/Burundi and Tanzania/Rwanda, was meant to commence in May but was delayed.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority says the only imports from Kenya that the Central Corridor can handle for the time being are cigarettes, spirits and detergents.

For goods exported to other East African countries, TRA’s Director of Education and Taxpayer Services Richard Kayombo said, the system will only handle wheat flour and cooking oil.

“We hope that the new arrangement will help to increase business competition in the region and efficiency at the Dar es Salaam port,” said Mr Kayombo. “It would also help to foster business relations among clearing agents.”

The Northern Corridor is ahead of the Central Corridor in terms of goods handled under the SCT.

Officials at the Kenya Revenue Authority confirmed that the region failed to meet the deadline due to various hitches, ranging from bureaucracy to technology issues.

They however added that most of the imports to Rwanda passing through the Northern Corridor had been brought into the system.

Modalities are also being worked out to include more goods imported into Uganda from outside the region to be brought under the system, KRA officials said, adding that, at the moment, fuel and clinker imported from outside the region are among the goods included.

They also confirmed that some goods are still going through the old system, adding that the SCT will be implemented in phases.

Not fully implemented

Peter Njoroge, director of Economics at Kenya’s Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, said Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda had agreed on the July 1 deadline first and that Tanzania and Burundi came on board later.

Source: The East African

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