National, News

Gov’t revives E-cargo Tracking Note tax

By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto


Government has reinstated Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) imposed on imports through port of Mombasa, Kenya, destined to South Sudan.

The ECTN was temporarily suspended following protests from clearing and forwarding agents, before operationalization.

An order issued by National Minister of Trade and Industry, directs the E-cargo tracking note to be charged US$300 down from its initial $350 per transit goods container.

In the order seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Trade Minister William Anyuom Kuol insists that the new tax is “an important tool for helping the government maximize its revenue collection.”

He maintained that the mandatory regulation be applied to all exporters and importers without exceptions and requested that concerned security organs enforce compliance.

The cargo tracking note is designed to provide local customs authorities with the required information and visibility about the import shipment.

With this arrangement, no South Sudan cargo will leave or enter Kenya without ECTN.

In a letter dated 1st-Feb-2024, Commissioner General of South Sudan National Revenue Authority (NRA), Africana Mande made official communication to his Kenyan counterpart on the implementation of the venture.

Kenyan clearing and forwarding agency had earlier protested the move by the South Sudan government to impose electronic cargo tracking note.

Former Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol informed shippers of the new recommendations where transit cargo has to be tracked through ECTN in a gazette notice dated March 1 this year.

Mr. Chol explained that maximizing revenues through the ECTN means remedying the challenges of underestimation, undervaluation, diversion of cargo, and round-tripping.

During ECTN’s first introduction, basic commodities, including building materials, ran out of stock in Juba as importers refused to comply with the new tax, creating commodity scarcity and an eventual price hike.

According to the Juba government, the introduction of the electronic cargo tracking note aims at monitoring the flow of goods in and out of the young east African country.

But early this month, a High Court in Mombasa, Kenya, suspended the collection of $350 in Electronic Cargo Tracking Notes charges levied by the government of South Sudan.

This comes after the protesting Kenya Clearance Agency under the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) sued the South Sudan government in a Mombasa high court over the ECTN tax.

Kifwa argued that there is a cargo tracker monitored by the customs department in Kenya—the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System—that is efficient, mandatory, and free within East Africa.

Also in a stakeholders meeting, traders questioned why the charges were being handled by a Ugandan company instead of South Sudan Customs authorities.

However, since then, the fate of the court case remains unknown, as the South Sudanese government that suspended the ECTN service due to traders complaints has reintroduced it again, cutting off only $50.

Meanwhile, South Sudan has been struggling with cases of illegal, undeclared entry of goods into the country. Some of the goods are expired, while others are of substandard quality.

For instance, in 2022, the National Ministry of Trade and Industry witnessed the illegal night entry of substandard commodities into the country by some traders.

The former undersecretary of the ministry, Mary Akec, affirmed at the time that substandard goods were being smuggled to the country at night when border officials go off duty.

Furthermore, in October last year, the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards impounded 62 trucks carrying afro-toxic grains.


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