27 March 2013

East Africa: EAC Introduces Mandatory Clearing Certificate

Arusha — ALL clearing and forwarding agents in Tanzania and the other four East African countries will be required to have the newly introduced 'East African Customs Freight Forwarding Practicing Certificate,' which is set to become a mandatory requirement for the industry before the end of this year.

This was announced in Arusha during a special workshop organized by the East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA) in conjunction with Trade-Mark East Africa, an event which was held to sensitize professionals in the freight and logistics industry on the requirement of a new certification.

The president for FEAFFA Mr Mathew Bizimana said logistics costs accounted for 42 per cent of the total costs of importing goods while expenses incurred due to delays drained another 23 per cent of the total imports processing costs.

"The East African region is currently characterized by high logistic costs and low levels of service provision.This damages the region's ability to trade competitively in the international market especially when the time taken to get to and from the ports to land-locked countries is singled out as major factor," stated the FEAFFA president.

Other hindering factors in EA trade include poor infrastructure, highway roadblocks, innumerable police checks, bribery among officials and delays at border crossings.

"We have therefore decided to impose the East African Customs Freight Forwarding Practicing Certificate (EACFFPC) a regional training programme developed by FEAFFA in collaboration with East African Revenue Authorities with support from Trademark East Africa," said Mr Bizimana.

He noted that the whole thing will be instigated under the stewardship of the curriculum implementation committee (CIC). The certificate whose training programmes have already started is set to be a mandatory requirement for all agents practising in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, said Mr Bizimana.

The Director of Trade Facilitation at TMEA Mr Silas Kanamugire said the workshop meant to collectively enhance trade within the region by identifying and supporting programmes that directly impact on the reduction of transport and related costs along the key corridors of East Africa.

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