African Union launches s 

Sunday, January 19, 2014 

Rwandans assured on Single Territory

THANK YOU: Less time at the border because of the system.

KIGALI, Rwanda - Rwandan business people have been assured that the new Single Customs Territory (SCT) policy will bring down barriers to the free flow of goods across the region while also saving them time and money.

The East African Community on the January 1, 2014 implemented the Single Customs Territory which is aimed at cutting down the costs of doing business within the region.

The Deputy Director General, Customs and Excise Commissioner in the Rwanda Revenue Authority, Richard Tusabe said non-tariff barriers would be reduced. 

Responding to a query about the benefits of the new policy during a briefing last week, he said cargo destined for Rwanda will be weighed once.

“Time will be saved, costs reduced which will promote business in the country hence help the country develop even more,” Tusabe said.

This new initiative involves the five countries that is Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, and all are expected to deploy customs officials to all points of entry into the community in order to collect the relative duty. Sources say the new measures will cut transit costs  by between 15% and  30%.

Tusabe added that the number of declarations procedures would also be slashed to one from the previous since this was going to be done when goods the enter country.

 “Verification of high risk imports to Rwanda and Uganda shall be done at Mombasa, while low risk consignments shall be finalized at the port and be delivered directly to importers,” Tusabe said.

Gilbert Langat, the Chief Executive of Kenya Shippers’ Council said Single Customs will enhance trade within the region. 

According to RRA, the cost of clearance, excluding transport, of 20-feet containers will reduce by 50% from $383 to $193.With the commencement date agreed upon by the heads of state for the five countries, Uganda and Rwanda deployed staff to Mombasa and the oil installations in Western Kenya.

Langat said that a return journey transporting cargo from Mombasa to Kigali will now be taking 10 days compared to 20 days before. 

He said the new system will  also help eliminate the many middlemen or ‘brokers’ who have been harrassing importers in the guise of being ‘helpful’.

By Agnes Bateta, Sunday, January 19th, 2014