The move has significantly reduced the time taken by travelers 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 finalising the completion of the Malaba OSBP on the Kenya-Uganda border at a cost of $ 7.5 million.
Speaking after the meeting of the EAC Committee on Customs at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority, John Njiraini said that TMEA was supporting construction of OSBPs at Elegu/Nimule (Uganda/South Sudan Border), Tunduma/Nakonde (Tanzania/Zambia) and Moyale (Kenya/Ethiopia).
“We recognise 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 boundaries with neighbouring countries is smoothened,” said Njiraini, who was flanked by among others Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Charles Kichere.
The list also includes, Dickson Kateshumbwa, Acting Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority and 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.
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 business people 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. Currently, the region is piloting undertaking exports under the Single Customs Territory,” they said.
The rollout of the export regime under SCT commenced on July 20th 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 October 22nd 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.
According to officials, partner states have submitted draft proposals which were considered in a meeting held on July 31st to August 4th 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 such as deployment of staff under the SCT, guidelines on the customs valuation of used items, additional export promotion schemes, and compliant trader program.