Tanzanian clearing agents shy away from new cargo system


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Tanzanian clearing agents shy away from new cargo system

By CHRISTINE AFANDI
Special Correspondent
THE EAST AFRICAN

Freight agents operators in Tanzania are reluctant to get connected to the newly established Asycuda++ cargo clearing system introduced by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

It was widely believed that the agents would embrace the technology, which is expected to reduce the time used to clear cargo by more than half. Some agents are already connected to the new clearing system but are nevertheless still using the old system — Nector Data — to lodge their clearing documents.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority said the pace of connectivity to Asycuda++ was very slow and a setback to its efforts to offer efficient services to its customers.

Under the new system, there will be a significant reduction in the number of documents required in the clearing procedure, simplification of procedures, harmonisation and standardisation of documents and data and overall automation of procedures.

TRA has directed Customs bonded warehouse operators to ensure that their warehouses are connected to Asycuda ++ immediately.

TRA Deputy Commissioner for Facilitation and Procedures, Joicy Appollo, said all Customs clearing and forwarding agents who are connected to Asycuda++ but are still using Nector Data have been given seven days to complete their migration to the new system, after which they will no longer be allowed to use the old system.

Ms Appollo said one of the necessary requirements for granting of licenses to Customs bonded warehouse operators and clearing agents was for an applicant to be connected to Asycuda++.

According to Ms Appollo, TRA will also terminate services to clearing agents not connected to Asycuda++ within 30 days.

Before the introduction of the new system, shippers and clearing agents had been blaming TRA for delays in clearing their goods from the port and their reluctance to embrace the new system has come as a surprise.

Genrose Bateyunga, deputy Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement, had said during the launch of the system that it would expedite verification and approval of transactions.

Sources in the shipping industry told The EastAfrican that clearing agents are reluctant to embrace the new system because it has sealed all loopholes of corruption due to its elaborate traceability of files.
 

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