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Purpose: The study examines the role of revenue authorities in facilitating international trade in the East African Community. It specifically seeks to establish the degree of integration of revenue authorities in member countries of the East African Community; to assess the individual role played by revenue authorities in member countries of the East African Community to facilitate trade; and to examine the collective role played by revenue authorities in member countries of the East African Community to facilitate trade.
Approach/Methodology/Design: A qualitative approach with a special focus on explanatory design was used to collect and analyze study data. The primary evidence and reports available are used to establish the role played by revenue authorities in trade facilitation. Seven (7) key informants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were interviewed. The responses obtained were analyzed thematically.
Findings: From these findings, it is determined that there are major steps and strategies taken by revenue authorities in the East African community to facilitate international trade. One of these steps was the introduction of a single bond for member countries, whereby traders are allowed to have a single bond for their imported goods for all countries through which their goods pass. Revenue authorities are also implementing integrated customs programs such as regional electronic cargo tracking systems (RECTS) and customs interconnection as a means of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of customs administration. Through the authorities, a Single Customs Area (SCT) was implemented thereby streamlining the movement of goods throughout the East African Community. The authorities have also introduced a trading information portal, a platform intended to utilize trade information among traders in member countries.
Originality/value: To improve trade facilitation in the region, revenue authorities need to advance their cooperation, thereby streamlining the implementation of key trade facilitation policies. Embracing a more integrated system will be critical for authorities to work closely together, reducing process duplication and improving the flow of operations across member countries to facilitate international trade.
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