Financing Operations and Documentation

Most of the payments are upfront and therefore importers need make adequate arrangements for fund sourcing. The importer need to seek financial advice from banks on issues of currency exchange rates to identify a currency with less fluctuation – some currency fluctuate more than others and may reduce the expected return.

An importer shall submit to customs authorities import documents before imported goods are removed from storage at the transporter, placed in bonded warehouse or removed from a bonded warehouse or a free zone for disposal domestically. The following documents shall be submitted to custom not later than 3 months from the date of arrival of vessel which transported the goods to the country.

The following are standard documents used by importers

  1. Trade License – all importers should have trade licensed by District trade development officer under ministry of trade and industry.
  2. Code number – every importer should have a code member
  3. Import license
    Only need in case of a few items that are restricted for security, health or environment reasons
  4. Product specification permits and certificates some products require special permits and certificate before they can be imported e.g. plants and plants products, drugs and pharmaceuticals live animals, used motor vehicles.
  5.  An invoice
  6. Bill of lading – (airway bill)
    Document evidencing a contract of carriage of goods. The supplier sends the document to the buyer after he/she has passed goods into the carrier for shipping and they have acknowledged the receipt.
  7. Bill of covering freight change.
  8.  Certificate of origin
    Document indicating the country of origin of goods been imported usually issued by exported countries official authority or by other agencies designated by the government where goods originate from.
  9. CET- (Common External Tariff)
    An identical rate of tariff imposed on goods imported from countries outside the regional trade agreement area. E.g. East African Community, COMESA etc.
  10. Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF)
    The seller pays the cost of freight necessary to bring goods to the named port of destination. Also procure marine insurance against the buyer‘s risk of loss or damage to the goods during carriage. The cost is then passed on to the buyer.
  11. Import Declaration Form (IDF) – (FORM E-61)
    A form that is prepared by clearing agent and required for all imports. It contains a summary of the information contained in the supporting documentation such as invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, sellers and importers names, addresses and
    related details.
  12. Letter of credit (L/C)
    A specialist instrument of international trade designed to facilitate trade between the exporter and the importer. It‘s issued by the bank to the seller at the request of the buyer. It guarantees payment to the seller if the terms and conditions specified in the
    L/C are fulfilled.
  13. Manifest
    The detailed list of cargo been carried on bond by a carrier. It contains quality, identity marks, consigner and consignee of each item.
  14. Sales contract
    Cater for different laws of languages of buyer and seller in different countries. Sets out the terms of sales transactions and guards against misunderstanding that could be costly in business. Includes of parties involved, description of goods involved, price ,
    delivery terms, payment terms, duration of contract, obligation of sellers and buyers, dispute settlement procedures, definitions and interpretations within the contract.
  15. Declaration of Custom Values (Form C-52)
    An importer signs it as a form of declaring that importing information given is true and accurate.
  16. Certificate of compliance
    Processed by different authorities such as KEBS and KEPHIS. Include certificate of conformity of analysis and phytosanitary certificate. Issued by supplier country by qualified personnel after inspecting goods and sends it to receiving country to prove
  17. Release order
    Issued by port authority. Allow goods to be released to the importer or through clearing agent.
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