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East African heads of states agree on tax collection at first point of entry

The East African heads of states have agreed, in principle, that goods should be cleared and taxes collected at the first point of entry in a move aimed at easing movement of goods within the regional trading block.

The head of state summit, the top most decision making organ of the community, met last week and adopted the destination model of clearance of goods where assessment and collection of revenue is at the first point of entry and revenues are remitted to the destination partner states. This will however be subject to the fulfilment of key pre-conditions that will be developed by a high level task force.

According to a communication issued after the meeting, the summit directed the council of ministers to initiate the operationalisation of this initiative and report progress at the 14th ordinary summit in November 2012. The plan, if successful, will help eliminate double taxation in the community that includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

The heads of states also directed that any decisions taken by the council of ministers on the elimination of non tariff barriers to enhance free circulation of goods and services in the community be implemented expeditiously.

In addition, the summit considered the report of the council of ministers on the application of South Sudan to join the EAC. The communication said he council has initiated the verification process of the application and the summit directed the council to expedite the process and report at the 14th ordinary summit in November. The summit also received a progress report of the council of ministers on the attainment of a single customs territory.

BY PETER KIRAGU
The Star
29-April-2012

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