29 February 2012

East Africa: Regional Customs Experts Meet Over Centralised Revenue System

Customs and information experts are meeting in Kampala to craft a single centralised system that will enable easy access to information on clearance of goods in East African Community (EAC) partner states.

The interconnectivity system dubbed 'Revenue Authorities Digital Data Exchange (RADDEx), was initiated by revenue authorities of EAC partner states.

"All efforts are now geared towards upgrading from RADDEx 1.0 which was used by country to country to 2.0, where we shall have the information pass through EAC central server," said Ibraham Kwihangana, a Customs business analyst at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

The week long meeting is also aimed at developing the software to enable it work hand-in-hand with the various customs systems of partner states.

Kwihangana said that while Rwanda was currently upgrading to the modern ASYCUDA world customs management system, Kenya uses the SIMBA model while the other partner states are using ASYCUDA.

"You can't lose information because each country will get a report from the EAC central server about goods for export and those in transit," he added.

Jonathan Sessanga, EAC's Customs Information Technology expert, said the interconnectivity system would enable faster delivery of goods from busy entry points like the Mombasa port.

"The clearing and forwarding agents all over the region will now prepare in time since they will have got prior knowledge from the central server about any goods that are being transported to any of the partner states in the region," he said.

According to Sessanga, the interconnectivity system currently receiving technical assistance from COMPETE, a USAID funded program, will be launched in April this year.

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