Single customs bond rule starts September

Published on 04/06/2009

By James Anyanzwa

Goods transported within Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) region will only be guaranteed in one country from September.

The Single Bond Guarantee Scheme for goods transiting across the region is meant to help traders move goods across the Comesa region faster.

The scheme is expected to eliminate and streamline unnecessary procedures and requirements and facilitates the smooth flow of goods across member states.

“For goods in transit across several countries within the Comesa, only one bond will be issued and thus doing away with the current practice under which a bond is required for every country in which the goods are in transit,” said Berhane Giday, the bloc’s Chief Programme Officer in-charge of Trade Facilitation, Yellow Card and Regional Customs Transit Guarantee unit.

Giday said the scheme would work best where tariffs are uniform within the region.

“However, for the first time being the consignee shall be expected to take a customs bond for a value based on the country with the highest tariff,” he told the scheme’s national stakeholders workshop in Nairobi yesterday.

The Customs Bond Guarantee ensures that Governments are able to recover duties and taxes from the guarantors in the event goods in transit are illegally disposed off for home consumption in the country of transit.

National controls

The operation of a single bond regime is scheduled to begin in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi before expanding to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Madagascar, Sudan and Zimbabwe as well as Zambia and DR Congo.

It will also reduce administrative barriers, speed up carriage of goods and lower transit costs to at least 15 per cent to 25 per cent of the current estimated 60 per cent freight rate for given corridor.

A truck delayed at the border costs $300(Sh23,400) per day.

Under the current nationally executed bond system, the customs authorities in every state apply national controls and procedures on goods crossing their territories by road. These measures, however cause considerable expenses, delays and interference with regional transport and trade.

The RCTG enables transit operators to execute guarantees for customs duties by providing adequate security to customs authorities in transit Comes member states that customs duties on the goods in transit will be paid should the transit operation fail for whatever reason and thereby facilitate the trade and transport in the region.

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