16 February 2017

East Africa: Staffing, Cash Hitches Delay SCT Rollout

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East African partner states are yet to fully roll out the EAC Single Customs Territory (SCT) due to financial constraints and shortages of officers to be deployed at various border entry points.

A new report of the EAC Sectoral Council of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment shows that out of the 37 processes expected to fully roll out SCT, only 10 have been implemented.

So far only Rwanda has put 100 per cent of products under SCT. However, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda have committed to 100 per cent rollout by July 1 as per the directive of the Customs Committee.

"Although modules are fully developed, partner states decided to roll out different products at different times depending on risk levels," notes the report.

Cargo rolled out

Uganda rolled out wet cargo while Rwanda rolled out both wet and dry cargo for clearance at the port of Mombasa. Dry cargo includes coal, finished steel or its ingredients, grain and sand or gravel. Other goods cleared under the system include edible oil, steel products, wines and spirits, confectionery, plastic products, milk and milk products.

The partner states have been directed to set up a regional warehousing system to mitigate risks.

Under the SCT, assessment of imported goods will only be conducted at the first point of entry and trucks weighed only upon crossing the border.

Revenue collection will also take place at the first point of entry and revenues will be remitted to the destination partner states.

Once the SCT system is fully implemented, transit times to major cities from points of entry at the region's ports will improve significantly, reducing lead times and trade costs, and improving trade competitiveness in East Africa.

The system also seeks to eliminate dumping of goods in countries of transit, thus protecting industries and jobs.

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