A Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) official has confirmed the second phase of the Single Custom Territory (SCT) will be rolled out on June 1, 2014.
In an interview, URA Commissioner Customs Richard Kamajjugo said: “We are doing the implementation progressively to avoid a massive switch over. The first phase was rolled out on January 1st 2014, the 2rd one will effect on June 1st,” he said.
An International Customs Day communication from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General John Njiraini said the phase will incorporate the republics of Tanzania and Burundi and will fully realise the envisaged East African Community (EAC) Union.
Njiraini says this will see the EAC community have one customs union.
“Under the provisions of the SCT, tax on incoming goods is to be collected at a single point of entry,” Njiraini said.
This will ensure that revenues are collected effectively and will allow faster clearance of goods for traders from the EAC.
“One of the serious problems we have been dealing with in customs is the question of the diversion of transit goods, somebody brings their goods in the country from Mombasa and says that they are going to Uganda and as soon as we release them to Uganda, they dump their goods in the country this will help greatly in this,” he said.
He says that it will allow faster and free movement in the EAC.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda rolled out SCT from January 1 as part of an accelerated programme for regional integration.
The authority also notified oil marketing companies and clearing that effective from February 3, 2014, oil products destined to Uganda shall not be cleared under the transit regime.
The taxman says all such products will be cleared under the Single Customs Territory after payment of taxes to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) via their customs system.
He said that customs has continued to invest in modern tools to help in the communication improvement drive.
“The ongoing technology investments both within and outside URA will see significant changes in the way customs does business in both countries over the next 18 years,” he said.
He says that the new custom management system whose tendering process commenced in early January 2014 when fully implemented will replace the current SIMBA system and will have superior features that will aid better practices in risk management security targeting and valuation of cargo.
“The system will also provide solutions that will enhance governance in hitherto problematic areas such as customs auction through the creation of an online virtual auction platform,” he stated.
Experts say this will crystalise the gains of integration characterised by minimal internal border controls and a more efficient institutional mechanism in clearing goods. He said for the last nearly two-months since the system was started, they have not had any challenges and work is going on smoothly.