Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Revenue Authority-URA has launched an operation to impound motorcycles with Kenyan number plates that are operating in parts of Eastern Uganda. The operation which is underway in the districts of Busia, Malaba and Tororo will also be extended to Lwakhakha in Namisindwa and Amudat district.
The operation follows a recent registration exercise of Kenyan registered motorcycles operating in Busia and other border districts as one of the measures to ensure tax compliance and fight crime in the areas. According to URA, Uganda was losing huge amounts of revenue as cyclists preferred maintaining foreign number plates.
URA estimates that there are more than 2,000 Kenyan registered number plates in Busia district alone. However, Duncan Kakonge, the URA manager in-charge of Eastern region says that most of the motorcycle owners didn’t go through customs processes to obtain foreign motorcycles and use them on Ugandan roads.
He says that the motorcycles that are being impounded are those without declaration certificates from customs indicating that were fully cleared. Owners of the impounded motorcycles have now been asked to go through the necessary processes to transfer the motorcycles from the Kenyan registration to Ugandan number plates.
George Barasa, the LCI chairman of Nangwe shops says that most people opted to buy Kenyan motorcycles because they are cheaper compared to the market price in Uganda. The motorcycles cost 3.5 million Shillings in Kenya and 4.85 million Shillings in Uganda.
But several bodaboda riders in the area described the URA operation as unjust saying that it contradicts East African Community protocols that allow free movement of people, goods and services across the region. Others said that the operation has frustrated their businesses because they cannot raise the money required to clear customs and get back the impounded motorcycles.
Hundreds of motorcycles have already been impounded and kept at Busitema checkpoint in Busia district and Malaba customs stores.