The secretary general of World Customs Organization Kunio Mirukiya has called for combined efforts towards boosting intra-African trade, proposing a number of reforms to ensure customs facilitate trade within the region. “First is infrastructure at borders because what is lacking is systems that can facilitate movement of goods and people. Customs should coordinate border management, have one stop border post or a single window and more security by collaboration is what Africa should be looking at,” Mr Mirukiya said at the 22nd World Customs Organization East and South Africa council governing meeting in Kampala last Thursday.
The meeting that attracted 22 countries from East and South Africa was aimed at looking at how best customs can facilitate trade and creating a platform for countries to collaborate and fight mutual challenges, within the region. According to Mr Tom Moyane, the commissioner of South African Revenue Service, intra-African trade is an opportunity for the continent to look at the comparative advantage and economies of scale it can enjoy.
Mr Dickson Katashumbwa, the commissioner in charge of Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) said that if African economies are to be boosted, there is need to have money circulating within the region.
Speaking at the event, commissioner general URA Doris Akol said the tax body is grappling with illicit trade involving counterfeits, substandard goods and drought which has affected revenue collections.
Mr Kunio visited the URA Headquarters. He took a tour of both the Regional Cargo Tracking System HQ & the Document Processing Centre. Mr Kateshumbwa demonstrated to him the functionality of the customs innovations and the results they have on trade facilitation not only in Uganda but the East African region as a whole. By Drake Nyamugabwa