Rwanda will implement a new system known as the Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (RCTG), aimed at reducing costs associated with transportation of transit goods within the region.
The current system is said to be expensive and time consuming.
The new Comesa system is expected to eliminate administrative and financial costs associated with the current system, which requires traders to buy bonds required by customs bodies of each country they pass through.
The Chief Program Officer of COMESA in the RCTG Unit, Berhane Giday, told stakeholders on Tuesday that RCTG will facilitate regional exporters and importers by improving their competitiveness.
“The cost of transit and transport in the Comesa region is believed to be the highest in the world. This makes the cost of imported goods very expensive and raises the cost of goods to the consumers and producers,” Giday said.
“These issues will be solved by the RCTG scheme, which is expected to reduce the cost of transport and transit of goods moving within and across the region by 10 to 15 per cent.”
Zephania Muhigi, the Head of Customs Field Operations Department in Rwanda Revenue Authority said that the new system will only execute one bond recognisable by all Comesa member states.
“The regional bond held by the cargo transporter will be monitored on an information system built at the Comesa headquarters in Zambia. What is required from each member country is to update the system with a document known as the Comesa carnet,” Muhigi said.
A goods transporter who possesses a carnet will be exempted from paying customs duties within Comesa and their administrative formalities will be simplified at each border.
Prior to introducing RCTG in Rwanda, Comesa launched the system in Kenya and Uganda and their respective revenue authorities put up measures to commence the system’s operations.
The region also plans to rollout the system in Burundi, DRC, Malawi, Zimbawe, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia so that it can be fully operational within this year.