Home | News    Sunday 20 June 2004

EAC member countries to "domesticate" customs protocols

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MOMBASA, Kenya, June 20, 2004 (PANA) — An official of the East African
legislative Assembly says the regional body was working
towards the "domestication" of the common protocol on
customs for the East African Community in a bid to
ensure that it becomes operational in January 2005.

The official, Harrison Mwakyembe, says the domestication
of the protocol signed in March 2004 would ensure that all
businessmen in the region operate within the same trade regime
and with minimum bottlenecks.

He explained that currently, traders within the region
were experiencing problems in the export and import of
their goods and services as the countries were still
operating within their old trade regimes which are yet
to be replaced by the new protocol.

Mwakyembe was speaking Sunday when members of the
Assembly, led by the speaker Abdulrahman Kinana, toured
a Mombasa based aluminium manufacturing plant and rolling mill.

He said that the assembly expected individual regional
legislative assemblies to come up with new trade rules
that were in conformity with the new Protocol before
January when it comes into effect.

He also observed that the protocol would remove the
grumbling by traders that they were trading in harsh
business environments as it would enable their goods
and services to move freely within the region.

The Director of the aluminium plant, Hirji Shah, asked
the authorities in the East African Community and
COMESA regional blocks to form a free trade area which
would enable goods to move freely within the region.

He noted that although Kenya was a member of the Common
Market for East and Southern Africa, Tanzania was not
and therefore goods from Kenya to Tanzania were
considered as coming from a different trade block and
thus charged highly.

Shah singled out instances where though the law
allowed for zero rating of tax on raw materials and
capital investments, his company was taxed for
exporting steel coils which he noted were not finished
products but raw materials for iron sheets meant for
roofing.

He also called upon the government to review tax on
fuel used by the company in the production of aluminium,
saying that a reduction of taxes would help the
company to compete effectively with other companies in
the region and the world as a whole.

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