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Tanzania Revenue Authority Introduces Online Clearing

Dar Es Salaam — Tanzania Revenue Authority has introduced online cargo clearance.

The new system of clearing cargo electronically called Asyscan abides by agreements reached among East African countries to harmonize customs.

The system, already operating in Kenya and Uganda, minimizes physical contacts between customers and revenue officers, thus minimizing the possibility of 'sinister' collaboration to facilitate tax evasion.

Uganda's system is known as ASCUDA++ while that of Kenya is called Simba.

The system also facilitates speedy clearance of cargo and minimizes congestions at ports.

"In less than a week a customer will have his cargo cleared," said TRA's Director of Taxpayer Service and Education, Protas Mmanda.

He said the system that is in its first phase became effective on March 11, 2009 at Julius Nyerere International Airport would enable importers, exporters, clearing and forwarding agents to submit documents electronically to customs.

Mmanda said some clearing and forwarding agents underwent special training a month before the start of the system and he urged other agents who failed to train then, to register for the training.

In another development, TRA has restructured the motor vehicle registration system to improve registration procedures.

Mmanda said under the new structure that took effect on March 16, all payments for taxes, duties and fees including plate number fees, are processed under one roof.

"The system is picking up well and users are still on the learning stages. The new system is intended to be used all over the country," he said.

By Israel Mbonea

East African Business Week (Kampala)