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Shipping & Logistics

Taxman to deploy customs officers across East Africa

customs officials
KRA plans to deploy customs officials in East African countries in a bid to stamp out smuggling at border points. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) plans to deploy customs officers to Uganda and regional countries to facilitate trade and boost revenue collection.

The move is aimed at sealing the revenue leakages and smuggling of goods which are rampant at the major border points.

KRA Western Region Coordinator Joseph Kaguru said this will be the first time the agency will send its officers to Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.

“We have realised that we have been having issues with manufactured products going to Uganda and coming into the country. Our officers will be there to collect revenue and also seal loopholes from that end,” said Mr Kaguru.

The plan to deploy customs officer across EAC states will mean cargo clearance will not be done at the border. This will reduce the pressure being experienced when clearing cargo at the border points

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“If you go to our major borders especially in Malaba and Isebania, you will not only find a lot of trucks parked there but cargo clearance being done at the border point,” said Mr Kaguru.

“The cargo clearance will not be done at the border. Our border will be transit point. The cargo clearance will be done in the inland container depots in Uganda and other EAC states.”

By the time a truck is arriving at the border all the clearance work will have been done and the tax paid, meaning it will easily pass through the border.

“By having trucks parked at the border we are creating loopholes for smugglers. These goods are the ones that again find their way in the country through motorcycles and Proboxes,” he said.

A few months ago KRA intercepted three containers of powdered milk that had been brought from Southern Sudan.

“They had gone on transit ...on reaching Southern Sudan taxes were paid. The same goods were brought back through the Busia border,”Mr Kaguru said.

“While they had paid taxes of about Sh1.6 million in Southern Sudan. In Kenya one container of powdered milk has a tax liability of Sh8million.”

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