Wednesday October 30 2013

Clearing time for Mombasa-Kampala goods reduces

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

The clearing of Uganda-bound cargo along the Mombasa port has been made easy after the launching of the Single Customs territory.

The new electronic cargo clearance system at the Mombasa port replaces the manual system, with the aim of reducing the clearance time from eight to about five days for Kampala, Uganda bound cargo.

This move was reached at the third integration infrastructure summit held in Kigali-Rwanda and signed by Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame.

This arrangement which has already started operating will see the movement of goods destined for Kigali-Rwanda spending eight days, down from the 21 days previously spent along the northern corridor.

Additionally, customs declaration and customs security bonds will reduce from 3 to 1.

The Uganda Revenue Authority’s commissioner customs, Mr Richard Kamajjugo, said: “We have already rolled out the system and we have seen it reducing the time spent clearing goods.”

Mr Gideon Badagawa, the executive director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, cautioned: “While Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda are implementing processes, they should not leave out Tanzania and Burundi.”

Other developments
The use of national identity cards, voter and student cards as travel documents will be implemented starting from January 1, 2014.

The use of a single tourist visa between Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda is also expected to start on January 1, 2014.

Rwanda will procure the first batch of visa stickers by December 2013, followed by Kenya in March 2014 and Uganda in June 2014. Additionally, the three countries have agreed to set up a one stop border post and modalities for revenue sharing.

At the Kigali summit next week, leaders will welcome South Sudan to the initiative, launch the Single Customs Territory and review the progress of infrastructure projects led by each country.