Single Customs Territory

Project Coordinated by: 
Rwanda

The Northern Corridor links Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa. It also serves the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Tanzania. Thus, Northern Corridor connects the five countries of the East African Community and beyond, playing an important role in the movement and trade of goods. To make it easier for people to do business in the region, Northern Corridor member states set out to create a Single Customs Territory.

The implementation of Single Customs Territory clearance procedures began at the end of 2013. Since then, all goods are cleared into a Single Customs Territory under a duty paid and warehousing regime. The Single Customs Territory (SCT) is a step towards a full customs union, achievable by the removal of restrictive regulations and reducing internal border controls on goods moving between partner states. The ultimate goal is the free circulation of goods.

A Single Customs Territory reduces the cost of doing business by eliminating duplication of processes. It also reduces administrative costs, regulatory requirements and the risks associated with non-compliance on the transit of goods. A Single Customs Territory enhances trade in locally produced goods, particularly agricultural goods and boosts the relationship between the private and public sectors. It also acts as a springboard for the free movement of other factors of production and attracts foreign, domestic and cross-border investment.

Objectives

  • Seamless flow of goods to enhance intra East African Community trade
  • Lowering clearance costs of goods within the East African region
  • Shifting of physical controls to electronic clearance processes
  • Improved coordination between agencies responsible for the clearance of goods
  • Enhanced compliance through a regional wide mechanism
  • Building a foundation for the East African Community Common Market and Internal Single Market
  • Realising economies of scale and optimal use of resources in clearance of goods
  • Developing supportive institutional and legal frameworks

Major Achievements

  • Clearance of goods under Home Consumption and Warehousing regime at the first port of entry (Mombasa)
  • Interfacing of Revenue Authorities Systems of the three Partner states (Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya)
  • Integration of Regional Customs Bond with Revenue Authorities Systems
  • Deployment of partner states (Rwanda and Uganda) Revenue Authority officers at the port of Mombasa
  • Waiver of port charges and demurrage fees on over stayed cargo at Mombasa port
  • Training and accreditation of clearing agents form partner states
  • Reduction of multiple customs bonds to a single bond
  • Reduction of clearance and movement of cargo in the Northern Corridor
  • Reduction of multiple cargo declarations to a single declaration

Strategic Path

  • Harmonisation and implementation of Common Electronic Cargo Tracking System
  • Full integration of RCTG- MIS with Revenue Authorities Systems
  • Conducting second time release study throughout the corridor
  • Addressing reported non tariff barriers
  • Carrying out a comprehensive study on the impact of the Single Customs Territory on cost of doing business