What is a Single Customs Territory?

A Single Customs Territory is described as a stage towards full attainment of the Customs Union which is achievable by the removal of restrictive regulations and /or minimization of internal border controls on goods moving between the Partner States with the ultimate realization of free circulation of goods.

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  • Goods are cleared at the first point of entry;
  • One Customs declaration is made at the destination country
  • Taxes are paid at the point of destination when goods are still at the first point of entry;
  • Goods are moved under a single Regional bond from the port to destination;
  • Goods are monitored by electronic cargo tracking system;
  • Interconnected Customs systems

  • Reduced turnaround time for transporters.
  • Reduced clearance time and the cost of doing business.
  • Reduced the risks associated with non-compliance on the transit of goods;
  • Enhanced trade in locally produced goods.
  • Enhanced the relationship between the private and public sectors;
  • Efficient revenue management;
  • Enhanced application of Information Technology and data collection at the regional level
  • Synergy through shared resources and utilization of economies of scale.

The EAC Partner States – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan.

a. Importers & Exporters

  • Appoint a licensed clearing agent/or get licensed for own clearance
  • Develop a working relationship with shipping line agents
  • Knowledge on SCT process and documentation

b. Customs/Clearing Agents

  • Acquire license from respective Revenue Authorities
  • Execute a Regional Bond Guarantee
  • Register with Port Authorities
  • Develop a working relationship with shipping line agents
  • Transporters

These need to acquire Transit License from the respective Revenue Authorities. Customs/Clearing Agents involved in the clearance process may choose to operate under the Mutual Recognition of Customs Agents and/or relocate to the First points of Entry (Dar es Salaam, Mombasa).

  • Manifests submitted to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) by shipper prior to Vessel arrival
  • KRA /TRA transmits manifests to the respective Revenue Authorities;
  • Importer/Agent accesses manifest data in the respective Revenue Authority Customs Systems and makes a customs declaration/Entry.
  • Taxes are paid at destination Partner state for duty paid cargo using respective national currency.
  • Physical verification of selected consignments may be carried out at a designated area as may be determined by the respective Revenue Authority
  • Release is issued from destination Revenue Authorities
  • Removal of goods from first point of entry.
  • Acquire knowledge in SCT & training in other Revenue Authorities Customs systems
  • Acquire access rights in the other Revenue Authorities Customs systems.
  • Sensitize their clients

Goods produced in the region are not subjected to import duty when transferred to another Partner State if they meet the EAC rules of origin criteria. However, these goods shall be subjected to domestic taxes which must be paid before the goods move from the country of origin to the destination Partner State.

How is the SCT addressing the problem of several weigh bridges along the transit/transfer routes?

Partner States have reduced the number of weigh bridges.

  • Northern Corridor: Cargo in transit/transfer is weighed once
  • Central corridor: Cargo in transit/transfer is weighed at 7 weigh bridges from 23.
  • Implementation of the use of weigh in motion weigh bridges where trucks conforming to the required weights do not stop

The clearing agent executes a regional Bond Guarantee for Bonded Cargo and is therefore responsible for ensuring that it reaches the final destination.

Whereas the Partner States provide security, the responsibility of securing the goods lies with the customs clearing agent, the transporter and the owner.

Some Government agencies have positioned their staff at the first points of entry and/or developed working relationships with the relevant OGAs in the Partner state of the first point of Entry.

It is a cargo movement document issued by the partner state where the goods are originating from. It is sometimes referred to as a “cargo manifest.”

These are extensions of the port which are licensed by the Commissioner of Customs for the purpose of storage and clearance of goods and to ease congestion at the port.

All containerized Motor Vehicles are cleared under the warehousing Regime (WT8). They are consigned to a general goods Bonds and NOT a Motor Vehicle Bond.

A step by step process

  1. Agent (on behalf of the consignee) presents the purchase documents/sales contract and a copy of the IM7 to the bond officer.
  2. Bond officer generates a manifest with as per the documents presented by agent.
  3. Bond officer issues the manifest to the clearing agent to enable capturing of an SCT declaration in the country of destination.
  4. The agent includes manifest number in SCT declaration that is generated in the destination country system.
  5. SCT declaration is released in the destination country and transmitted into URA ASYCUDA system
  6. Bond officer accesses the declarations, confirms the declaration and uploads a Verification Account.
  7. Bond officer generates a cargo movement document (C2) and issues it to agent.
  8. Cargo is flagged off
  9. Customs officer at the border ‘exits’ the consignment upon arrival at the Exit Border.

The agent is required capture two (2) separate Entries; one for the Motor Vehicle Unit – this may be a warehousing Entry (WT8) or an IM4 (Payment of Taxes), and another one (IM4) for the goods. Both Entries should be inspected accordingly.

All Exempted goods are cleared under the Warehousing Regime (WT8.) The goods are secured under an RCTG bond, and an exemption entry processed on arrival at destination partner state.

  • Obtain incident report and Scene of Crime from Police Authorities, Revenue Authority of the state where incident happened, nearest URA office and any other related evidence e.g. Pictures of the Scene etc.
  • Obtain a Taxes demand note from state/country of incident
  • Submit Report/ Refund Claim (for IM4s) to Assistant Commissioner Enforcement for further investigations and processing.

It is possible for goods imported through the Port of Mombasa Port to be de-stuffed. A client is required to seek formal approval from the Manager Mombasa URA and Manager Enforcement KRA before such an Entry is captured. The approval letter is attached on the Entry. The Goods are captured as Bulk goods and processed as such.

All groupage cargo is cleared under the Warehousing regime (WT8) has declared on the master Bill of Lading. Deconsolidation/ breaking bulk shall be done when goods arrive at destination partner state.

The Bill of Lading will be cleared on one entry i.e. total write off of bill of lading (apart from bulk consignments like wheat, fuel, CPO etc where part clearance can be done) and thereafter, a bond to bond effected at arrival at the bond of destination respectively.

The Regional Customs Transit Guarantee Bond that is used to secure warehoused Goods (WT8) that are on transit within the COMESA and the EAC Regions. The RCTG is housed and managed in The RCTG MIS system by the COMESA RCTG Technical team.

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