The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has signed a project contract worth USD3.2m with Southern Korea in a move to modernize the customs department.
The funds which will be channelled through Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) would, among other things, increase transparency, raise revenue collection and improve the operations of the department.
TRA Commissioner General Harry Kitilya said the contract was signed in October last year whereas the project is expected to be completed in December this year and become effective January next year.
Kitilya said the project will completely change the customs operations into digital (paperless system) hence simplify clearance processes as importers would be required to electronically submit their consignment documents prior to arrival of shipment.
For his part, South Korean Ambassador to Tanzania Kim Young Hoon said his government is highly committed to support the Tanzanian government, adding that they have decided to show it starting with TRA so that it improves its revenue collections.
Meanwhile, TRA has launched an electronic cargo tracking system that will automatically remove all the non-tariff barriers and ease document processing.
Through the system customers will be able to clear imported cargos at the Dar es Salaam port within 24 hours, since all the relevant documents will be electronically processed prior to arrival of the consignment.
Addressing transportation stakeholders on Monday, TRA Commissioner General, Harry Kitilya said the electronic cargo tracking system will enable customs officers to track vehicle all the way to the last check point at the border posts.
“There will no longer be cargo stealing as the drivers will be electronically monitored throughout the way. The system will however record everything and in case of accident or theft the system will be replayed,” he noted.
According to him, they have agreed with stakeholders to provide a three months trial period to see how they can overcome the challenges.
The system also enables customers and importers to track the vehicles electronically, he said, adding that so far all the check points would be removed especially for those transporting consignments to Zambia, Malawi and the DR Congo.
Commenting on the new system, a representative from the Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA), Fulgence Bube said it is likely to increase the costs of transportation, adding that transporters will have to fix a special software machine in their vehicles to enable the system track the vehicle.
He said the gadget is estimated cost USD1, 000.
According to him, once the seal which is fixed at the back of the container is removed or stolen, the transporter will automatically be held responsible for tempering with it and be obliged to settle the costs of fixing it again.