So far the benefits of the Single Customs Territory are already being witnessed by both the public and the Private Sector in the region, The East African Business Council Chairperson has noted.
According to the EABC Chairperson Mr Nicholas Nesbitt, with the Single Customs Territory regional customer-centric procedures have been put in place eliminating duplications and reducing the cost of doing business.
“Among other milestones achieved under the EAC Single Customs Territory, which have eased and reduced the cost of doing business in the EAC also include the regional bond which has eliminated the dependence on multiple national bonds.” Mr Nesbitt said.
There are several other benefits that the region has seen as a result, as Mr Nesbitt said. They include:
The regional Electronic Cargo Tracking (ECT) which secures transfer and transit goods in the Republics of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda; Real time sharing of Customs information upon arrival of goods at the port which lessens internal border controls.
All ports now operate on a 24/7 schedule, which allows the importer/transporter to use the shortest time possible to clear and move goods from the point of entry to the destination Partner State.
“The turnaround time from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam to Kampala, Kigali or Bujumbura has been reduced from over 18 days to an average of 4 days,” said Mr. Nesbitt.
The Chairperson urged Tanzania and Burundi to join Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking (RECTS) as use of electronic systems reduces human intervention, leads to improved efficiency, reduces delays and malpractices in clearance of cargo.
He also called on the EAC Partner stated to simplify and harmonize documents for import and export.
EAC Partner States should also harmonize domestic taxes (VAT, Excise, and Income Taxes), in order to facilitate easy and free circulation of goods in the EAC.
As the Chairman of the EABC, he reiterated his promise to steer the regional body to greater heights through investing in policy, research, advocacy, technology and capacity building. He further emphasized on the importance of a collective voice to advocate for a regional agenda to ensure a clear growth path for the EAC region.