The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is now clearing all imports into Uganda through the Mombasa Port using the Single Customs Territory (SCT) platform, a faster process that eases doing business in the East African region.
According to Dicksons Kateshumbwa, the URA Commissioner of Customs, the SCT was effected on July 31, 2017, after the tax body sensitized key stakeholders on what is expected of them as they go through the new procedures.
SCT is described as the stage of full achievement of the customs union, attainable by the removal of duties and other restrictive regulations, or minimization of internal border customs controls on goods moving between partner states with the ultimate realization of free circulation of goods.
The SCT aims at reducing the cost of doing business in the East African region, enhancing application of cross border information and communication technology systems and improving coordination of the private and public sector agencies among others.
According to Kateshumbwa, the clearance of all goods under SCT platform follows the successful roll out of clearance items like fuel, clinkers, wheat grain, bulk crude edible oil, bitumen, rice, sugar, used clothing and used shoes. Others items cleared under the arrangement include; alcoholic drinks, cooking oil, cigarettes, neutral spirit and containerized steel products.
Further, he says the success of the SCT at trial stage enabled URA to extend the coverage to all other goods imported into Uganda through the busy Kenyan port of Mombasa located on the Indian Ocean.
Procedures at the SCT include the single declaration of goods lodged at destination country, payment of taxes and physical verification of goods which done once either at entry point or destination country.
Other procedures include customs submission of declarations electronically, which is then processed by URA prior to release and loading of such goods at the Port of Mombasa.
Under the SCT customs clearing agents are required to execute a regional guarantee bond and register with the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).