EAC Closer to a Uniform Custom Bond (allAfrica.com)

East African Community may have a common custom bond in two weeks as the bloc races to enhance faster movement of goods across the five member countries, the Kenya Revenue Authority has said.

This is part of the proposed Regional Customs Transit Guarantee, a regime that will ensure authorities in a transit country receive

proper payment for dues and duties for goods passing through their territories.

The RCTG bonds scheme is designed to fast-track movement of goods under the customs seals. Value of custom bonds presently vary from one country to another because of different duty rates and valuation of goods.

“This(RCTG) will put in place a mechanism which the importing country can recover revenue in case of an incidence,” KRA commissioner general John Njiraini said. “Once that is completed in one or two weeks, we will now be rolling out further products that will then be secured through this system.”

The RCTG was first introduced in 2012 for three countries along Northern corridor – Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – to facilitate movement of goods from the port of Mombasa to the hinterland.

Tanzania joined joined on April 9, this year.

Introduction of uniform bonds for the EAC countries is part of the ongoing implementation of the Single Customs Territory system which was launched in October 2013. The SCT allows for assessment and collection of taxes at the port of entry.

Its implementation which is in phases is currently at 50 per cent, according to the EAC secretariat.

KRA said all goods will be covered under the system from next year.

Phase one addresses bulk cargo such as fuel, wheat grain and clinker used in cement manufacturing.

Phase two caters for containerised cargo and motor vehicles, while the third phase will handle goods trading within the EAC.

He was speaking in Nairobi on Friday when he hosted revenue authority’s bosses from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, to discuss cargo clearance time and costs.

A customs bond on the other hand is a bond given by an importer for payment of damage resulting from failure to comply with the customs laws and regulations.

The commissioners also discussed the implementation of a warehousing regime and reintroduction of export declaration by Kenya.

The ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) remain the key ports of entries for bulk cargo in the region.

On transit traffic destinations through Mombasa, Uganda leads with a 74 per cent market share. South Sudan is second with 10.6 per cent while DR Congo comes third with 5.7 per cent.

Rwanda is at 3.3 per cent, Tanzania 2.6 per cent while Burundi has the least share of 1.1 per cent.