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Customs Processes and Procedures

SECTION I. Receipts And Treatment Of Parcels

I.1. Legal Provisions

Customs procedures at the Post Office are set out in accordance with the provisions of Sections 93-93 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 and Regulations 112-117 of the East African Community Customs Management Regulation, 2006.

I.2. Receiving The Parcels

International mails and packages arriving in Rwanda will be loaded to the Post Office van under Customs supervision . The van will be sealed and seal number be indicated on the manifest which will be signed by Customs Officer. The mails and parcels shall then be transferred to office of exchange.

The Customs Officer will receive the manifest from the Post Office driver and carry out checks on seals and manifest to confirm the authenticity of the document.

A register of mails received at the office of exchange will be kept and each consignment will be given:

  • Annual serial number: ¬
  • Rotation Law No
  • Bill of Lading Law No
  • Date of arrival
  • Name of aircraft - Serial Parcels Law No.s
  • Number of Parcels
  • Total Number of Parcels

The column provided for the number of parcels will be totalled at the end of each page and finally at the close of the year. Before recording the particulars of any consignment in this register, the Officer must refer to the relevant foreign Parcel Bill (manifest) from the Post Office of dispatch to ensure that all the parcels included in that particular mail have been properly advised or otherwise satisfactorily accounted for. If any discrepancy is found the matter shall be reported to the Customs Officer immediately.

I.2.1 Sorting of Parcels

Upon arrival at the parcels office (office of exchange), parcels will be sorted by the Officials of the Post Office under Customs supervision where as each parcel is given its appropriate serial number according to the category into which the parcel is sent. Manifests will be prepared and sent along with consignments to the post office of destination.

I.2.2 Arrival of consignment at designated post office

The responsible officer at the post office shall cross-check consignment received against the manifest prepared by officials at the office exchange. Every parcel will then be given a serial number for easy reference and identification. If any discrepancy is found the matter shall be reported to the Proper Officer immediately.

I.2.3 Preparation of Parcel Advices

After the Post Office has written on the parcels the serial numbers allotted to them, they will prepare skeleton parcel advices in triplicate, and the parcels will then be made available for Customs examination and assessment of duties and taxes. The original copy is sent to the consignee via his/her mail box, the duplicate together with Customs declaration are submitted to Customs where as the triplicate is attached to the parcel.

I.3. Assess Parcels-Procedure After Preparation Of Parcel Advice

If the particulars declared on the parcel are sufficiently accurate to allow the Customs officer to assess the duty on the goods, the Customs officer at the post office will enter the declared particulars, quantity and value of the goods, commodity code and the rate of duty and the amount of duty payable, if any, on the Customs entry portion of both copies of the original and duplicate parcel advice.

If the declaration on the parcel is such that the Customs officer is unable to assess the duty, the parcel will be opened by the Post Office and duty assessed basing on the value appraised by the officer.

I.3.1 Valuation of the Parcel

It is an international requirement that the value of the goods being exported is declared on Customs declaration CN 22 or CN23 which will be used as the value of the parcel to the country of destination. If the value was not indicated on CN22/23 , the Proper Officer is mandated by Section 123 of the EACCMA to determine the value of goods.

I.3.2 Rate of Customs duty

The reference will be made to the Common External Tariff 2007 version (CET) that is the Annex I and II to the protocol on the establishment of the East African Community Customs Union.

For goods originating from EAC partner states, the rate of the import duty is 0% where as rates for those originating from COMESA member states depends on the level of agreement. Note that goods/ importer shall bear the certificate of origin to get preferential treatment.

I.3.3 Examination of Parcels

The unpacking, presentation for examination and repacking of parcels opened for internal examination will be carried out under the supervision of a Customs officer and a responsible official of the Post Office. This is in accordance with the definition of "owner" in section 2 of the Act and regulation 114 of EACCMA 2004. It is mandatory that examination account is endorsed on the parcel advice clearly showing quantity, value, Tariff No. and rate of duty.

Great care must be taken by officers when examining parcels, particularly those containing perishable or easily damaged goods. Parcels containing films which are liable to be spoilt if exposed to light or air will be examined externally, unless there is reason to doubt the accuracy of the declaration. In such cases the importer should be asked to attend at the parcels office.

Officers examining parcels must bear in mind the import prohibitions and restrictions set out in Sections 18 &19 of the East African Community Customs Management Act.

I.3.4 Entry of goods

Under regulation 112 and 113 of the EACCM Regulations, a declaration form or label made out by the sender of the goods must accompany, or be securely attached to, each parcel or to one of the parcels when the goods are packed in more than one parcel. If a parcel contains goods of a commercial nature, an invoice or statement showing full particulars of the goods must be enclosed in, or securely attached to, the parcel or if there are two or more parcels, in or to one of the parcels, which shall be clearly marked “Invoice (or statement) enclosed”. The declaration of the contents, value and other particulars on such form or label may, subject to Customs examination, be accepted in the case of “assess” parcels for the purpose of assessing the duty payable thereon.

I.4. Procedure On Presentation Of Parcels Advice

When the importer presents the original parcel advice at a parcels office where a Customs officer is employed, he/she will¬

  • Trace the duplicate parcel in the filing drawer and compare the particulars with those on the original;
  • Inform the Post Office of the particulars of the parcel to be delivered (this is done by handing the duplicate parcel advice to the Post Office so that they can trace the parcel);
  • collects the duties and taxes as required on the simplified entry
  • sign, stamp and date the Customs entry (normally simplified declaration)
  • sign, stamp and date the duplicate parcel advice in the appropriate space provided on the front page of the advice, and hand it to the Post Office for release.

N.B The need for the importer to make a declaration in the prescribed form in person can be waived pursuant to section 93 of the Act and regulation 112 EACCMR, 2006.

I.5. Accounting For Revenue Collection

I.5.1 Required procedure

The required procedures for the accounting for revenue will vary according to the system in use i.e. Manual or computerized system. However, regardless of the system in use, all monies collected, as Government revenue will have to be accounted for in a systematic and transparent manner.

I.5.1.1 Receipting

No money should be received without the issue of a receipt in one form or another. Each payment receipt issued must show that the payment was made either by cash or certified cheque, the cheque number, bank and branch of the bank.

The receipt should also indicate the tax type for which the payment is made, that is, Customs duty, Excise duty, VAT and other charges.

At the close of each month, the RRA revenue reconciliation division shall carry out an audit of total revenue received against revenue deposited on the respective accounts.

I.5.1.2 Accounting for revenue in computerized environment

  • Payment of duties and taxes will be processed in SYCUDA++ by Customs Officer;
  • The receipt will be issued to the Importer/ clearing agent;
  • Customs Officer prints daybook in ASYCUDA++ through MODACC and conducts reconciliation at the end of the day between payments processed in ASYCUDA++ and collected amount.
  • Reports are sent to the finance directorate on monthly basis

I.5.1.3 Accounting for revenue in manual environment (non automated)

  • Customs Officer collects duties and taxes from the importer/ agent;
  • Prepares a receipt that specifies the tax type for which the payment is made. The original copy is issued to the importer/ agent, the duplicate will be sent to finance directorate and the triplicate is retained in the office files;
  • The Customs officer at the parcels office will enter all transactions done in the Daily Revenue Receipt (DRR) and Daily Bank Reconciliation Sheet (DBRS) at the end of each working day.
  • Reports shall then be submitted to the finance directorate on monthly basis.

I.5.1.4 Banking

Rwanda Revenue Authority holds several credit accounts at the Central Bank; therefore, all Customs revenues must be paid in the appropriate accounts i.e. Customs and VAT

I.6. Partial Clearance

The importer may decide to declare and pay for the part consignment, where as Customs Officer and Post Officer will write off and endorse to the to the Parcel advice the released part.

I.7. RE-Importation

When goods are re-imported after alteration, renovation or repair duties and taxes are chargeable on the cost of the alteration, renovation or repair if a re-importation certificate is produced by the importer and the goods are identifiable with the particulars stated on the documents. Duty is not chargeable on the cost of postage or insurance, if any. Documentary evidence of the cost of the repairs should be called for at the discretion of the officer.

To the re-importation of articles leviable with duties and taxes and subject to the provisions of section 116 of the Act and VAT law, facilities may be granted:

  • At Post Offices where no Customs officers are in attendance, the officers of Postal Administration who have been instructed¬
  • that an adequate description of the article should be included in documents for purposes of identifying the articles on re-importation;
  • that where necessary to ensure identification the owner should be requested to open the parcel for examination;
  • that if the owner refuses to comply with the request to open the parcel a facility is not to be granted and the owner referred to the nearest Officer of Customs.

In the event of refusal to open a parcel for examination, or the owner being referred to the Customs Officer by the Postal Administration, the attention of the owner should be brought to the provisions of section 16 of the Act which provides that goods for exportation are subject to Customs control and liable to examination. In the event the owner insistently refuses to have the parcel examined, the Revenue Officer shall order that, it be seized under section 204 of the Act.

I.8. Other Procedures

I.8.1 Importation by Letter Post

  • Letter packets suspected to contain dutiable articles will be detained at the sorting office and released on payment of duties and taxes due.
  • Packets which the officer consider from an external examination do not contain dutiable articles, will be released by the officer impressing thereon the release stamp and his / her signature
  • Insured packets, other than forward packets, are not to be opened except in the presence of the addressee, who should be requested to attend for Customs examination of the packet.

I.8.2 Exemptions

Goods listed in the fifth schedule of the East African Community Customs Management Act will be exempted from payment of import duty when imported or purchased before clearance through the Customs by or on behalf of privileged persons and institutions. VAT law also lays down conditions and list of goods that are VAT exempt.

I.8.3 Warehousing

When an importer wishes to warehouse goods imported by parcels post, an entry for warehousing in the prescribed form C.17 must be passed at the Post Parcels Office and the full warehousing procedure observed. For more information on warehousing regime, refer to Customs processes and procedure.

I.8.4 Refunds

Applications for a refund of duty overpaid or paid in error will be forwarded, in duplicate, to the Finance department of RRA. For more information on refund process, refer to Customs processes and procedure and Reg.143 and Reg.146

I.8.5 Handling of Prohibitions and Restrictions

Such goods will be seized and retained in accordance with section 210 of the East African Community Customs Management Act. Section 213 empowers the Customs Officer to seize goods liable for forfeiture. The Act also in its second and third schedules indicates lists of prohibited and restricted imports/exports.

I.9. Unclaimed And Uncleared Parcels

I.9.1 Unclaimed Parcels returned to the Senders

If, at the expiration of the period, allowed, the Post Office wishes to return an unclaimed parcel to the sender, the parcel will be produced to the Customs Officer at the office of exchange at which the relevant parcel advice was issued together with Returned Parcel Bill in respect of the parcels to be returned. This enables Customs Officer at the Post Office to reconcile all imports against revenue collected.

If the parcel is unclaimed by an importer, the officer will remove the duplicate parcel advice from the filing drawer or safe, endorse in the "Remarks" column of the Returned Parcel Bill against the item the local parcel number, write on the duplicate parcel advice the words "Returned to sender" and the number (if any) and date of the Returned Parcel Bill, and his signature and the date and keep it.

I.9.2 Uncleared Parcels Which Are Not Returned to the Senders

In accordance with the provisions of regulation 116, the Post Office is required to send uncleared parcels to the Customs Warehouse and in such the parcels will be dealt with in accordance with section 42 of the Act.

I.9.3 Duty on Lost or Missing Parcels

The National Post must accept liability for the Customs duty on parcels subject to Customs control which have been lost, mis - delivered or misappropriated while in its charge to the definition of "owner" in section 2 of the Act. Where the amount of duty has been assessed, the Authority has to reimburse this amount to Customs department. At parcels offices where a Customs officer is employed whole time, he will have retained possession of the duplicate parcel advice pending the presentation by the importer of the original advice and for every duplicate advice in the possession of the Customs officer the Post Office should be able to produce the relevant parcel. If they are unable to do so, it can only be assumed that the parcel has been delivered or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the proper officer and a report should be submitted to the Compliance and Enforcement division of Customs for possible offence report and further investigation if it is proved that the parcel went into home use under whatever circumstances without Customs authority, duty must be paid by the "owner" or the National Post Office on his/her behalf.

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