By Elias Mhegera – On Monday September 28th, The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) celebrated an implementation of the Single Custom Treaty (SCT) with Rwanda in a bid remove bureaucratic red tapes and address failure of having a competent logistic information system.
The move is seen as a relief and breakthrough to Rwandese Freight Forwarders but also to Tanzanians who transport logistics to and from Rwanda. The arrangement is an effort towards merging the laws in an effort of eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).
The TRA Commissioner General Rished Bade says that this move is not only a diplomatic success but also a relaxation to freight forwarders and the business community of the two countries which are fully involved in the logistics supply.
“By this development now it means once the details of a cargo have been entered in the system, one can track through ought its journey up to the point of embarkation, it just remains the duty of immigration officials to deal with their tasks, it is indeed a relaxation,” commented Mr. Bade.
He added that this does not mean to protect Tanzania’s income only but also reduce associated risks. He challenged the relevant bodies to offer enough education particularly the clearing agents so that they may as well disseminate such education to their partners in the receiving end.
He informed that in the bid to fulfill the East African Protocol such arrangements have been reached in all ports including those of Mombasa and Tanga. “This is an attempt to engage all partners in the development process, the availability of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an added value to these efforts since one can trace information from each end,” he commented.
He further promised that the initiative between TRA and the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is a process that will be articulated for the whole of the East African Community (EAC).
Seka Tusabe the Commissioner General RRA says his government has invested a lot to ensure that the number of days of transit cargo from the Dar es Salaam Port to the point of embarkation is reduced from five to three, while in the past this could mean between 12 and 14 days.
“My government has always strived to reduce the burden of costs to consumers that are caused by poor facilitation of logistic movements; by this move it means we have now reduced the bureaucratic red-tapes, but without compromising the integrity of our countries’ agreements,” said Mr Tusabe.
He says this development has an impact to the business community and it will improve the power base of investment with facilitation of enhancing profitability. And even more, it will invite more partnership from Rwanda.
John Bosco Mtagana from the Rwandese Jaguar Carriers says harmonization of information in the transit movement arrangement and the single window access will assist in the reduction of costs but he called for the shipping agencies to be part of this effort.
“It has been a common trend that the cargo remains packed up to three days before the driver can start his journey because of the poor entry systems, but also drivers concerns of their security, all such hindrances and others by custom agents must be eliminated if the off loading is to improve,” he commented.
He demanded all the responsible authorities to consider the aspect of time so as to reduce stress to the owners of the cargoes because some of these are expensive and they need to be re-connected elsewhere even after entering Rwanda itself.
Tony Swai Secretary General Tanzania’s Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), says the Tanzania’s Government should do every possible means to assist freight forwarders from these two countries due to the fact that they bring a lot of revenues but they still face unfriendly business environment.
But responding to these concerns the TRA -CEO, Bade assures forwarders of more efforts by the government in resolving the obstacles that the freight forwarders have been facing including improvement of the road infrastructure while similar plans are under way for the railways.
He assures that the challenges of custom clearance have been resolved, the road barriers likewise, while more such efforts are coordinated in all other areas of the Dar es Salaam Port including immigration duties to foreign drivers and transporters.
Meanwhile Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania launched officially the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Mwatate boundary road in Taveta Kenya being a gesture of ‘walking’ the East African Community (EAC), co-operation talks on October 4, 2015.
President Kikwete proceeded for a three days official visit to Kenya being also his last visit as Head of State following the expiration of his 10 years constitutional term.