ICT hitches hamper efficiency at border
ICT hiccups remain among the biggest challenges as the East African Community (EAC) eyes a full-fledged trans-boundary business in utilising the common market protocol.
At least customs officers at Mutukula border point with Uganda admit that the internet communication hitches were hindering the quick clearance of goods and other services at border checkpoints on either side of the two countries.
The assistant commissioner of Trade in the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Magela Stephen, said recently that the reported delays of vehicle clearance at the Mutukula border checkpoint were occasioned by poor clearance infrastructure and procedures that are bureaucratic in nature.
Magela said the infrastructure were mainly characterised with network hiccups. He said the current system should be automated for facilitating fast clearance at designated one-stop centres.
“It was anticipated that the reported delays in the clearance of goods would no longer be a major problem after the construction of the EA communication cable network that was doing well in a number of countries in the region,” he said.The URA clarification follows complaints levelled by Tanzania businessmen over the alleged delays during the clearance of vehicles and goods at the Mutukula border point.
However, in a communiqué after a joint meeting between Tanzania and Uganda local communities at Mutukula recently, EAC authorities were also urged to address non-tariff barriers, the Citizen reports.
The two sides agreed that there was a need for continued efforts toward enhanced cross border trade within the bloc with the priority being given to the establishment of border markets along Mutukula, Kikagati and Murongo borderlines.In a separate development, EAC officials said recently that the revenue collected by individual partner states have improved steadily since the launch of the customs union in 2005.
According to the statistics availed recently at the Mutukula border community sensitisation meeting on the common market, Tanzania collected a total of $18,872 million against $13,217 by Uganda. Kenya tops the list with $36,704 million collections from the regional trade.
According to the EAC officials, the revenue accrued was attained between 2005 and 2010 during which Burundi and Rwanda realised $1,826 million and $5,102 respectively.