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TRA hammers dubious clearing agents

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by JuaKali, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. JuaKali

    JuaKali JF-Expert Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Messages: 785
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    The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) is set to streamline customs services to improve its performance in the development of national economy by ensuring custom agents adhere to customs laws.

    TRA gave the new licencing requirement last month, adding that it will not renew licences of those who fail to comply. However, customs agents have however criticised the move.

    TRA acting commissioner for customs and excise Walid Juma told The Guardian on Sunday that the new measures are currently being put in place.

    About 500 members of the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa) are expected to renew their licenses in 2009.

    Last week the authority`s customs and excise department suspended 25 clearing and forwarding companies from operating as agents because they violated customs laws and procedure governing goods` clearance.

    During the suspension period, respective clearing and forwarding agents would not be allowed to deal with any customs transaction.

    Their employees are also prohibited to enter any customs office or customs controlled area for the purpose of carrying out such transactions.

    He cautioned the business community not to involve themselves in acts of violation of customs laws, adding that the customs department would not tolerate any violation of the laws.

    The companies have a total of 81 staff and 60 directors. ``Stern measures will be taken against agents who fail to follow the orders,`` Juma said, adding that the public should avoid doing business with such companies.

    In another move, the commissioner said local customs agents will from now on register with the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) before they renew their licenses.

    Sumatra would be responsible for vetting customs agents in a bid to ensure they comply with the set standards, he said. But speaking to this paper this week, several Taffa members said they would challenge the new requirement, terming it ``illegal.``

    ``We resolved in a meeting not to comply with the instruction requiring Sumatra to conduct the vetting,`` said an agent who preferred anonymity.

    At the meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Taffa members resolved that they would only accept vetting by their association, saying the TRA was adding more obstacles in their business by involving another body - Sumatra - in their transactions.

    Otieno Igogo, the association`s president, said it was improper to refer clearing and forwarding agents to another authority since their businesses are only subject to customs control.

    He noted that the move was also contravening Sumatra law, which states that the authority should not perform its functions in contravention of any international agreement to which Tanzania was party