Rwandan shippers are protesting at Kenya’s continuing to charge fees for its electronic cargo tracking system in spite of the free integrated system being in place.
Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda integrated their electronic cargo tracking systems, replacing the old, individual country-owned ones.
However, Kenya has maintained the old system that is run by private providers at a fee.
“We buy each electronic seal from private vendors in Kenya at $700, without which cargo cannot be released at the Mombasa port,” said Abdu Ndaru, CEO of the Kigali-based transport and logistics company TransAfrica Ltd.
Robert Mugabe, the deputy commissioner of the Revenue Investigation and Enforcement Department, confirmed that he had received Mr Ndaru’s complaint, and said that it was a one-off error that KRA has since rectified.
“I called my counterpart in KRA about it. We agreed that cargo coming to Rwanda will either have the Rwandan seal or the regional seal,” said Mr Mugabe.
He said he was told by his Kenya counterpart that the private e-seals are used for risky domestic market cargo to monitor its movement.
Chief executive of Kenya Shippers Council Gilbert Langat said they had not received any complaint from the Rwandan shippers.
“This is a free service because it is a cost taken over by TradeMark East Africa, and until later, when shippers will be notified on the amount to pay, the service remains free,” said Mr Langat.
TradeMark funded the project to enable the owners of the goods and clearing agents to get real-time feedback on location of a vehicle, its speed, status of the container, and whether the seals have been tampered with or not.
Patience Mutesi, the country manager of TradeMark East Africa-Rwanda said, “It is expected that the tracking device armed in Kigali will be used along the Northern Corridor from Kigali to Mombasa.”
Ms Mutesi said it is costly for the business community to arm two seals — one regional free seal and the privately managed ones — when Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda were facilitated jointly to track cargo from the port to destination.
“The private players are requiring that their tracking system be used in addition to the regional tracking devices, subjecting transporters to an extra cost; this should not be the case,” she said.
Tanzania chose to remain on the old electronic cargo tracking system to protect private business interests.
In the EAC, only Rwanda and Uganda are implementing the project.
Rwanda Trade, Industry and EAC Minister Francois Kanimba said Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya’s revenue bodies should charge transporters uniform fees.
Source:The East African