The secretary general of World Customs Organisation Kunio Mirukiya has called for combined efforts towards boosting intra-African trade, proposing a number of reforms to ensure customs facilitate trade within the region.
“First is infrastructure at borders because what is lacking is systems that can facilitate movement of goods and people. Customs should coordinate border management, have one stop border post or a single window and more security by collaboration is what Africa should be looking at,” Mr Mirukiya said at the 22nd World Customs Organisation East and South Africa council governing meeting in Kampala last Thursday.
The meeting that attracted 22 countries from East and South Africa was aimed at looking at how best customs can facilitate trade and creating a platform for countries to collaborate and fight mutual challenges within the region.
According to Mr Tom Moyane, the commissioner of South African Revenue Service, intra-African trade is an opportunity for the continent to look at the comparative advantage and economies of scale it can enjoy. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor
Dicksons Kateshumbwa, chairman of the EAC Committee on Customs, said turnaround time has been reduced from 21 days to 3-5 days on average between the entry points to Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda, and Bujumbura in Burundi.
The six-member EAC is implementing a number of customs projects, including the SCT, transforming the way of doing business for the benefit of EAC members economies.
“Capacity building and sensitization to support the SCT has been done and is ongoing,” Kateshumbwa told a news conference in Dar es Salaam. Read more. Source | Coast Week
There is need to expedite seed regulation harmonisation programme in the COMESA region to help increase access to quality and improved seeds by farmers and boost production and household incomes as well as ensure the bloc is food secure, experts have said.
According to Argent Chuula, the chief executive officer of the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) at COMESA, lack of quality seed contributes significantly to food insecurity and nutrition deficiency in the region as only a handful of countries are food secure. Read more. Source | New Times
Traders, especially women, are experiencing Customs delays and roadblocks that hinder export of goods across regional borders. This is despite it being almost seven years after the East African Community started implementing the Common Market Protocol.
A new study on non-tariff barriers facing Ugandan women trading in East Africa found that open borders as proposed in the Customs Union and Common Market protocols have not been realised.
Some of the challenges the traders face include problems with the Asycuda system, which rarely functions leading to wasted time. Asycuda is a computerised Customs management system that handles manifests and Customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures. Read more. Source | East African
The East African Community is developing a Regional Training Curriculum to support the operationalization of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) within the bloc. The training curriculum is a major capacity building tool for OSBPs in the region.
In a 20th - 24th March meeting, with the support of GIZ - African Union Border Program (AUBP), currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda, Partner States’ experts from the Revenue and Immigration Authorities are developing the tool, which aims at training the OSBP officers on the rules and ways to operate in their different positions at their different posts in cooperation and coordination with their different counterparts. Read more. Source | East African Community
The newly operational One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facilities at the Rwanda-Ugandan border at Kagitumba, Nyagatare district has reduced clearance time by 25 percent, officials said.
An OSBP is a "one stop" form of border crossing point jointly managed by neighboring countries, with officials from host and neighboring country sitting under one roof on either side of the border.
This allows travelers to stop only once at the country of destination, where their travel or other documents are stamped both exit (from country of origin official) and entry (by country of destination official) at the same time, thus the "One Stop". Read more. Source | Coast Week
The introduction of one-stop border posts has been hailed for improving trade among East African Community (EAC) member countries.
The border posts have also made EAC a major economic bloc in Africa, according East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member and Kenya chapter secretary Judith Pareno.
Ms Pareno made the remarks during an EALA sensitisation forum in Isiolo on Tuesday.
She lauded the assembly for removing trade barriers at border points, saying the changes had resulted in faster and more efficient movement of people and goods. Read more. Source |Daily Nation
The East African Community is working with agencies such as TradeMark East Africa to ease the movement of labour and capital and cross-border business.
The Community has initiated projects focused on creating market access, enhanced trade environment and competitiveness.
In 2016, 10 of the 13 one-stop border posts were completed and are operational under the integrated border management arrangement. These are the Holili-Taveta, Mirama Hills-Kagitumba, Kobero-Kabanga, Busia-Busia, and Mutukula-Mutukula posts. Read more. Source | East African
In order to acquire land and start actual work on the development of Free Trade Zones in Uganda, the authority responsible for the establishment could require funding of up to Shs400 billion.
Established in 2014, the Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) was meant to attract export-oriented investments to Uganda that would be given specific tax incentives.
While launching the 2015/16 – 2019/20 Strategic Plan in Kampala on Tuesday, Mr Richard Jabo, the executive director UFZA, revealed that implementation will require funding of between Shs360 billion and Shs400 billion over the next five years. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor
Traders in the East African Community (EAC) should understand the rule of game in the regional cross-border trade, a trade technocrat has advised as millers in Kenya complain about zero rated wheat flour imports from Tanzania.
The East African Business Council (EABC) Trade Economist, Mr Adrian Njau, said in a telephone interview from Arusha yesterday that most traders were uninformed of their rights stated on the EAC treaties.
“Business people operating in the region should not overlook the procedures needed to penetrate the regional markets, but make effective use of the duty-free access to sell their products,” he said. Kenyan millers have questioned the application of the EAC tax regime by the authorities which allow wheat from Tanzania to enter Kenya market tax free. Read more. Source | Daily News