EA experts meet to draft single customs roadmap territory

Namanga, Tanzania-Kenya, border post
Customs experts from the East African partner states are meeting in Arusha to draft the roadmap for the attainment of the single customs territory (SCT).

The experts, who constitute the high level task force on the SCT, meet where the EAC director general for Customs and Trade, Mr Peter Kiguta, officially launched the task force on Monday.

The same team is tasked with preparing the pre-conditions for a functional single customs territory, as directed by the EAC heads of state during their 10th Extra Ordinary Summit on 28 April this year.

The presidents gave a nod to the SCT and adopted in principle the destination model of clearance of goods where assessment and collection of revenue is at first point of entry and revenues are remitted to the destination partner states, but subject to the fulfillment of key pre-conditions to be developed by the high level task force that is meeting in Arusha this week.

Mr Kiguta told the task force that it was expected to develop mechanisms for assessment, collection and accounting of revenues, review the legal and institutional frameworks and applicable Rules of Origin for the SCT, transit and border control practices, the mechanisms for free circulation of goods and transfer tax payments, among others.

He challenged it to review all processes and procedures with a view to coming up with a practical SCT.

“Trade taxes contribute more than 50 per cent to some partner states total tax revenue,” Mr Kiguta stated, adding, “As such, sensitivities associated with the task need to be addressed carefully in your deliberations. 

A win-win principle must guide our deliberations as we don’t envisage a situation where any Partner States will be worse off due to the SCT.”

Observing that the EAC Customs Union has taken shape in the seven years of its existence, resulting in a phenomenal rise–of as much as 50 per cent –in intra-EAC trade, the Director General affirmed the SCT would consolidate these gains.

Over the two-day period, the Task Force is expected to agree the key pillars and scope of the SCT, and to consider and adopt a draft work programme.
Source: The Citizen,http://www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Zephania Ubwani,
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