Following the departure and takeover of all TISCAN operations earlier this month by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Authority has pledged to increase efficiency in cargo clearance at the Dar es Salaam port.
According to the TRA, this move, which follows the expiration of the company’s Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract, has been designed specifically in an effort to help unify customs operations and ease port congestion.
Some of the services that the TRA currently offers its clients include pre-arrival declaration processing, cargo scanning, computerized risk management and capacity building.
In the seven years since its establishment in the country, TISCAN was able to successfully employ innovative, custom-made services in order to ease the import of trade while, at the same time, securing government revenues.
Prior to the take over from TISCAN, the TRA Customs Department was in charge of handling the Pre-Arrival Destinations (PAD) documents for cargo not exceeding USD 5,000 as well as special consignments.
In addition, all documents that were cleared by TISCAN were required to receive final approval from the TRA.
As a result of the work that TISCAN accomplished, the TRA has gone completely paper-free and has completed 65,000 import declaration documents, annually.
In an interview with the Daily News Tanzania, Mr. Walid Juma, the TRA Commissioner for Customs and Excise, explained that all clearing operations are currently being handled by customs officials whose goal is to reduce the number of unnecessary delays.
“We are determined [to deliver] efficient clearing services at all customs check points particularly at the Dar port and airport,” said Mr. Juma, “Workers are capable and highly motivated to reduce the number of days of clearance procedures.”
Mr. Juma went on to explain that there are still a few cases in which delays will occur, most of which are the result of mistakes by the clearing agents in filling out the clearance documents.
In addition, according to the Commissioner, because some clearance agents have not been submitting the required clearance documents for PAD on time, unnecessary delays have occurred.
In order to avoid delays, Mr. Juma explained that agents are supposed to declare goods to be cleared 10 days before their arrival as it can take as many as 48 hours for the customs officials to pass and verify the document before continuing with other procedures.