The East African Community is pushing for an amendment to the Customs Management Act to allow Customs officials to get advance information regarding goods being moved across national borders ahead of their arrival on carrier vessel.
This would enable Customs officials to detect high-risk consignments and take appropriate action, and expedite clearance of legitimate cargo.
Section 24(1)(a) of the East African Community Customs Management Act requires shipping lines to submit their vessel manifest at least 24 hours before their arrival at a port.
The Council of Ministers has approved the amendment for submission to the East African Legislative Assembly.
It will then be forwarded to heads of state for approval and enforced by the Customs Directorate.
It is expected that the law will curtail trade in illegal goods across partner states as authorities will have to co-operate and share information on money laundering, drug, arms and human trafficking, dealings in counterfeits and infringement of intellectual property rights.
This will be the third time the Act is being amended since 2004, when East African Community Customs Management came into force.