DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua)
-- A senior official with the
East African Community (EAC) said on Thursday
implementation of the bloc’s single customs territory (SCT)
has tremendously reduced the cost of doing business in
Kateshumbwa, chairman of the EAC Committee on Customs,
said turnaround time has been reduced from 21 days to
3-5 days on average between the entry points to Kampala
in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda, and Bujumbura in Burundi.
six-member EAC is implementing a number of customs
projects, including the SCT, transforming the way of
doing business for the benefit of EAC members economies.
building and sensitization to support the SCT has been
done and is ongoing,” Kateshumbwa told a news conference
in Dar es Salaam.
started in 2014 on both the northern and central
corridors where goods are assessed and declared at the
first point of entry and move to the destination partner
state with taxes and duties paid upfront.
said integration of customs functioning was enhanced
through cross-border deployment of staff in partner
states, leading to better accountability, deterrence of
smuggling and closer cooperation among customs
“So far we
have rolled out goods on the SCT on pilot basis,”
Kateshumbwa said. “However, the most important decision
we have made today is that we have agreed on the full
implementation of the SCT effective July 31, 2017.”
customs automation across the region has been enhanced
in all member states—Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda,
Burundi and South Sudan—with upgrades of the customs
systems and migration to more advanced and robust
level an inter-connectivity program has been initiated
to address the current weaknesses in customs valuation
and monitoring of goods across the region,” he said.
said due to the changing and dynamic business
environment, the EAC has embarked on a comprehensive
review of EAC Common External Tariff (CET) to align to
the realities of trade.
“The CET is
supposed to be reviewed after every five years. The
exercise is expected to be finalized by the end of this
year,” he said. .
Microsoft hands over
intellectual property hub to COMESA
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Microsoft Corporation has handed over the
ownership and management of an Intellectual Property
(IP) Hub to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA), the regional bloc said on Thursday.
IP Hub project was started by Microsoft in 2014 to
create and encourage an intellectual property culture in
Africa as an initiative developed under Microsoft
4Africa, as an online learning resource to drive
awareness around intellectual property.
It was to be
piloted for two years and thereafter be handed over to
the regional bloc member countries.
bloc confirmed in a statement that the IP Hub was
officially handed over during a ceremony held in Nairobi
Kenya on April 26 on the sidelines of the commemoration
of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day.
IP Hub is a concerted effort between the public and
private sector for the development of a regional
platform that can contribute to a strengthened national
IP protection system, in a manner that promotes
innovation, business development and trade,” COMESA
Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya said in the statement.
that the value of IP and IP protection has not yet been
fully utilized within the region and that the hand over
marks a shift in the regional bloc towards the
realization of the need to protect IP, with copyright
protection being the initial step.
to handing over the IP Hub, Microsoft 4Africa will
continue to collaborate with IP authorities in the
regional bloc to automate their IP registration
and COMESA are also working together to enable the
creation of new IP by promoting a trusted cloud
infrastructure, underpinned by relevant policies around
cyber security and data privacy.