PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


Tanzania has been urged to create a single window at border points so as to boost cross-border trade in the East African region.

“There is a need for Tanzania government to create a single window at border points so as to make it easy for traders to conduct their business. The government must find ways to improve its infrastructure and eliminate all bottlenecks to doing business,” Erich Kieck, the Director of the World Customs Organization (WCO) said recently during a visit here.

He said once Tanzania reduces the number of its agencies, more trade will be opened up.

He said Tanzania has numerous agencies at its border posts which are negatively affecting cross-border trade.

Kieck told East African Business Week during the two-day National Policy Dialogue organized by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), if the government can work on this bottleneck it will then mean a faster expansion of business.

Hesaid the existence of many government agencies not only increases the cost of doing business, but is also unfriendly in regards to saving time.

This encourages illicit trade, corruption and unnecessary delays at the border posts.

Kieck said there is also a need for the government to plan together with the private sector so as to understand their challenges and discuss issues that discourage their businesses.

The TRA’s Commissioner for Customs and Exercise, Tiagi Kabisi said, the overall aim of this policy dialogue is to enhance cooperation between customs, other government agencies and the private sector.

“This will be achieved through discussions on international standards, trends and practical experiences of other countries with respect to coordinated border management and customs business cooperation,” he said.

He said this dialogue could not have come at a better moment than this, since the objectives are clearly in line with and support “our efforts as country in improving our economic competitiveness with a view to accelerate growth, creating jobs, opportunities and ultimately reduce poverty,” he said.

“These efforts include those geared towards improving investment climate, greater regional economic integration, harmonization of standards and procedure regionally and internationally, reduction and elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and customs modernization,” he said.

“We at TRA are pleased to implement this important project in collaboration with WCO, we believe that the involvement of all key stakeholders in the cargo and passenger clearance chain at policy or operations, is of paramount important in modernization of customs,” Kabisi said.

Kabisi said while the primary role of Tanzania Customs Administration is revenue collection, it is also their duty to help legal trade and enable the private sector to play its role effectively and efficiently in the growth of the economy.

He thanked government of Finland for supporting the project. He said such assistance “will enhance our economic competitiveness and ultimately improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.

The Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania, Sinikka Antila, the Finnish example shows that economic freedom and trade liberation goes hand in hand with sustainable growth and welfare. Finland is the home of such giants as Nokia.

She said according to the rankings, the most competitive countries are also most democratic and currupt-free. This means that governance should be given priority.

She said the private sector needs a level-playing field, rule of law and predictability. Efficiently working customs authorities are key for facilitating international trade, she said.

“Time and costs associated with crossing borders are a major impediment for integrating countries in international value chains,” she said.

“Business environment and infrastructure need to improve and crucially for the topic of this dialogue, the ease of crossing borders needs to improve,” she said.

Source: East African Business Week

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