By IAN RUMANYIKA
After successful roll out of the SCT processes for all Imports into Uganda in December 2017,Uganda Revenue Authority is now set to roll out the SCT procedures for UgandanExports that are destined to the world all over. The roll out is effective 19th July 2018, and will commence with a pilot of Coffee Exported through the Port of Mombasa, and subsequently other exports including tea, hides and Skins etc.
According to Mr. Kateshumbwa, the Commissioner Customs URA, the new procedures will be piloted with Uganda’s main exports because the benefits are expected to have instant significant impact on Uganda’s competitiveness and on the economy as a whole.
The Single Customs Territory is a milestone towards integration of the EAC Region to attainment of a Customs Union. The implementation of SCT will enhance the clearance of goods, minimize controls at internal Borders and decongest the Ports to boost trade facilitation in the East African Community.
Between July 2017 to December 2017, Uganda ‘s top 20 exports contributed 64.58% of the total exports worth, with a value of UGX 3,036.036 billion out of the total UGX 4,701.093 billion. The top exports included; Coffee, Gold, Maize, Beans, and Tea, with values of UGX 888.880 billion, UGX 502.699 billion, UGX 179.604 billion, UGX 164.646 billion , and UGX 152.715 billion respectively.
The main destinations of Uganda’s exports in the same period were Kenya, southern Sudan, UnitedArab Emirates, democratic republic and Italy.
In terms of trading Blocks, 44.34% Uganda’s exports are consumed in theEAC region, 21.3% in Europe, 19.10% in Asia and 10.94% in the COMESA countries.
Under the new SCT Processes, only one export declaration is required to clear goods from Uganda up to the Ports.There is no need to make other declaration when the exports arrive in Kenya. The Export declaration is made in the URA system and automatically shared with Kenya Ports Authorities and Kenya Revenue Authority.Exports will take a maximum of 2 hours at the Borders for cross border clearances.
The new process is simplified and harmonized throughout the EAC, this will result into improved clearance times of 3days Kampala – Mombasa, down from an average of 7 days. Exporters will also enjoy reduced costs of clearance and documentation fees, since the required Customs declared have been reduced from 4 to 1 declaration.
URA has interconnected her IT systems with all Revenue Authorities and Port Authorities in the region which enables real time sharing of informationto support the speedy clearance of goods and for vessel booking and other port processes. Clients no longer have to move between Agencies with Piles of documents.
The current exports clearance process is tedious and costly to Exporters, also theconnection between Customs and Port Authoritiesis manual and time consuming. Exporters are required to make Multiple Customs declarations at several stages in each of the transit countries and go through multiple clearance processes which impedes the timely revenue inflow from exports from the region.
The new clearances are part of the several enhancements that are being implemented atURA to boost trade facilitation, including the Authorized Economic Operator, the One Stop Border Post, and the Central Document Processing Center among others. Mr.Kateshumbwa asserted that the Organization is working towards creating a new environment in goods clearances for our for business community, because this has significant on the Economy.
The author works with URA’s Public & Corporate Affairs division as Manager Public and Corporate Affairs