Regional revenue bodies tipped on single customs territory

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Some of the revenue officers who attended the workshop last week. (Eddie Nsabimana)

Regional revenue bodies have been urged to embrace technology to solve some of the challenges facing the implementation of the single customs territory initiatives.

Raphael Tugirumuremyi, the commissioner of customs at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), said technology is essential in solving problems in revenue collection on the continent and facilitating trade.

Tugirumuremyi was speaking at the Eastern Africa Regional Technical Assistance  (Afritac East) regional workshop on the implementation of single customs initiative in Kigali last week.

The workshop brought together different revenue authority officers from eight countries - Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Burundi, and hosts Rwanda.

Tugirumuremyi was hopeful that the training would enable regional customs officers to use the knowledge acquired to adopt ICTs in their operations, saying these are important to improve customs operations and help drive regional development agenda.

Patrick Chisasa from the Malawi Revenue Authority said the knowledge acquired would help them devise mechanisms to reduce the previous multiple transactions by businesses in customs clearance.

“Different customs procedures are being implemented under multiple transactions which is costly, but we expect that costs will be reduced as long as we are looking forward to join the regional single customs,” Chisasa said during the workshop. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) AFRITAC East Centre sponsored the workshop.

The single customs territory initiative was launched by East African Community countries in September 2013. The bloc’s neighbours, including Zambia, Ethiopia and Malawi, are looking to learn its operation as they seek to join the initiative.