How Clearing and forwarding association views World customs day.
The world customs organization has designed 26 January as an international customs day. This year 2017, theme is “Data analysis for effective border management.” At national level, the celebrations will be two days after, following the decision of Rwanda Revenue Authority.
Seka Fred, Chaiman of Rwanda freight & forwarding association and vice chairman of FEASSA, an association for clearing agents in East African region, says that the world customs day means a lot for them as stakeholders and partners with customs.
“The day is significant in the nature and promotion of international trade, quicken trade and its facilities, sharing information between customs services and collection data at customs as well as helping taxpayers to improve their integrity vis-a-vis of customs and revenue administration” emphasizes Seka Fred.
He indicates that clearing agents are very proud to be helping importers to comply with taxes at customs. He commends the customs services for the facilities available for importers noting that they ease the work of clearing agents and quicken business turnovers.
The chairman of freight and forwarding association insists on verification and data assessment and analysis at three levels namely importers, clearing agents as well as customs officers towards effective and smart tax compliance.
Importers must check the documents from their origin of the goods, clearing agents help the importers fill clearing and customs documents and the customs officer checks genuinely before releasing cargos.
Seka notes: “Tax compliance is assurance of future as it helps individual development as well as national development.”
In order to improve professionalism, the association in collaboration with Rwanda Revenue Authority and other government institutions offer training on logistics. They are working on setting an institute for logistics to build capacity to become a regional professional clearing agent.
Seka also lauds Rwanda Revenue Authority for improved customer care saying also: “There is no window for malpractice in customs.”
The association has a self regulation policy to focus on professionalism and fight against any malpractice and tendency against tax compliance. “There is no window for malpractice you can only be in this profession when you are truthful, transparent and share information with other partners in customs.”
The clearing and forwarding companies under the association have code of conducts to follow in order to meet professionalism under a very good standard. “We advise our members but when you go outlaw there is a disciplinary committee to penalize the defaulters.”
According to Seka, 80% of clearing agents are professional in this sector working hand in hand with customs officers. We also put many efforts in promoting integrity among them.
The Rwanda freight & forwarding association was founded in 1996. It has so far about 180 members companies. Some of the companies have extended their activities from local to regional level, most of them operating at port of Mombassa and Dar es Salaam.