The national tax authorities of member countries of the East African Community (EAC), have agreed on three priority areas that would modernise customs in the region.
This was during the 5th steering committee meeting of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and East African Community Modernization Project held yesterday in Kigali.
Customs Commissioners from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi and representatives of the EAC and WCO attended the one-day meeting.
Addressing the press after the meeting, the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Mary Baine, said that regional policy on Post Clearance Audit, Risk Management and a common Authorized Economic Operator were the key areas agreed upon.
“These policies we have adopted are going to facilitate and promote trade, investment and production in EAC” she said.
“The agreed basic elements will be concentrated on Trade Facilitation for business, which is especially important towards modernising customs clearance in the region”.
Baine added that they want to improve business in the community by implementing modern customs procedures for the five EAC countries, based on WCO international conventions and standards.
The project’s Program Manager, Sheena Namitara Ntege, said that “We want to engage more with the private sector and make it easier for players to do business in the EAC”.
“These policies we have agreed on are very important since they are going to enhance regional trade and foster economic development in our community,” she explained.
According to Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the Director of Customs EAC Secretariat, the EAC customs modernization will facilitate trade in all aspects that is imports and exports in the region.
Lars Karlsson, the WCO Director in charge of capacity building, said that the policies adopted by the steering committee mark a significant step forward in modernizing customs union in the EAC bloc.