The now operating Single Custom Territory (SCT) in the three East African countries has led to the decrease of cargo costs at the Mombasa port by 30%.
This development has come after the three presidents, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya agreed to implement a Single Custom Territory (SCT) between them, as members of the East African Community. The agreement didn’t not involve Tanzania and Uganda.
The agreement removed multiple weighbridges, police and customs checks along the Mombasa-Kampala-Kigali route and introduced computerized clearances and electronic tracking and other innovations that have overturned many hurdles for free or Non-Tariff Barriers(NTBs) that the Northern Corridor was infamous for.
In a two days meeting aimed at reviewing and learning more on the operation of SCT, the Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority Mr. John Njiraini, said the SCT will meaningfully reduce the cost of cargo transit and make it easier for importers across the region. He emphasized that “We want to ensure faster clearance of goods at the first point of entry within East Africa.”
The implementation of SCT follows three phases, phase one involves bulk cargoes such as wheat grains, clinker used in cement manufacturing and fuel. The second phase will encompass containerized cargo and motor vehicles, and the last phase we deal with Intra-regional trade among countries that are implementing the SCT Tripartite agreement.
The commissioner General also added that “these measures are designed to provide a sound platform to refocus Customs and Border.”
The Single Custom Territory (SCT) is a step towards a full customs union, achievable by the removal of restrictive regulations and reducing internal border controls on goods moving between partner states.
The ultimate goal is free circulation of goods.