The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) will today (August 11) start a pilot project of clearing of bulk international cargo through the Single Customs Territory (SCT).
The SCT involves removal of internal border customs controls on goods moving between partner states with an ultimate realization of free circulation of goods.
According to the URA commissioner customs, Mr Richard Kamajugo, the trial project will involve overseas cargo bound for Uganda through the port of Mombasa.
“The bulk cargo on the list includes Clinker- a raw material used in the manufacturing of cement, edible oils and wheat grain,” Mr Kamajugo said.
The revenue body says the project will last for about three weeks before all international containerised cargo is brought on board.
URA commenced pilot SCT systems in February and by April, they had rolled out clearing of Uganda-bound light cargo through the port of Mombasa.
Mr Kamajugo added that URA has also started clearing cargo through the southern corridor’s Dar es Salaam Port.
“We commenced pilot clearing of fuel products imported to Uganda through the port of Dar es Salaam on August 4,” he said.
Experience with SCT
The businesses that have had goods cleared through the SCT system say they have experienced improved efficiency, seen increased supplies and improved bound time, something which has seen them reduce on the cost of doing business.
Talking to Daily Monitor, the general manager Hash Energy-fuel dealers, Mr Peter Ochieng, said: “We used to spend more time entering multiple entries of products but now with a single entry, which is done online we do save two to three days.”
About the single customs territory
The East African Community member states, through the Single Customs Territory, have adopted a destination model where duties are assessed and payable upon arrival of goods at the first point of entry.
This means the partner states where goods are destined will collect the taxes and notify the first point of entry to release the goods. At the first point of entry, depending on the level of risk, customs officers from the destination country-posted at the first point of entry (Mombasa and Dar es Salaam) -may subject the goods to physical examination before release.
Goods will, therefore, move directly to the owner without going through other customs controls at the internal borders and inland customs cargo centres. Goods destined to a bonded warehouse located inland will be declared directly for warehousing at the first port of entry and will move across the partner states on a single regional bond without subjecting them to other bonds at the internal borders.