URA suspends single customs clearance over delays to roll out

Friday May 25 2018

By Dorothy Nakaweesi


Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has suspended clearance of goods through the Single Customs Territory (SCT) citing delay by other EAC member states to roll out.
This comes barely two months after the Single Customs Territory system was launched in mid-March.
The Single Customs Territory goods clearing system had been expected to ease business, especially for commodities exporters transiting through Mombasa port.
Mr Abel Kagumire said, the URA customs manager, yesterday said URA had halted the system “due to delay for other countries to roll out”.
“We shall resume [using the system] in the next financial year [which expires in June] after we have sorted the delays,” he said.
The Single Customs Territory is a stage towards the full attainment of the Customs Union, which will eliminate different taxes and other restrictive regulations.
The system also seeks to minimise internal border customs controls on goods moving between EAC partner states with an ultimate realisation of free circulation of goods.
The delay by other countries is a serious setback, especially to coffee exporters who have been actively using it.
Coffee dealers were the first to use the system pending addition of tea, fish and hides and skins dealers.
Mr Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises, yesterday said: “Clearing of exports through the system had eased movement of goods,” adding: “We have now gone back to the more tedious clearing system.”
The system, he says, had partly helped to improve coffee exports to 401,930 (60 kilogramme) bags.