The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has today launched three customs trade facilitation programmes that will improve the ease of doing business in Uganda and the East African Community, and also promote trade and Investment.
The trade facilitation programmes funded by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) will be used to monitor transit cargo under customs control in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
The Trade Mark East Africa funded URA innovation aims to ease trade facilitation through a centralized Document Processing Centre (DPC), Introduction of a Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) and accreditation of new Authorized Economic Operators (AEOS).
Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde, joined by Evelyn Anite the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, launched the services at the URA headquarters in Nakawa, Kampala on Friday.
They were joined by URA Commissioner General Doris Akol , World Custon Organisaition Director Compliance Anna Brigette and officials of Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), a not-for profit established to support the growth of regional and international trade in East Africa.
“Our dream of being the model tax body is starting to bear fruits. RECTS and other innovations ensure better trade facilitation,” said URA’s Akol at the launch. RECTS is a web-based integrated system that will be used to monitor transit cargo under customs control in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
Akol said the system will held reduce revenue leakage, reduce cargo diversion and improve ease of doing business in East Africa.
Previously, each country operated a separate national cargo tracking system. According to officials, this posed challenges like lack of complete transit monitoring mechanisms leading to cases of dumping, delayed bond cancellation and refund processing and poor information exchange.
Officials said the process was a barrier to cross border trade due to multiple verification steps at all borders along the corridor, and was costly both in terms of money and time.
The new electronic processes will facilitate seamless flow of transit cargo and a single view of cargo tracking along the corridor, improve cargo security by providing real time detection of transit violations like theft and diversions.
The single Document Processing Centre at the Nakawa, URA Headquarters will shorten customs declaration processing time by receiving declarations online and processing them.
The implementation will be done in a phased manner. So far four stations have been rolled out in Mbale, Mbarara, Kampala and Malaba. Jinja station will be next March 6 2017, Busia March 20, Entebbe station April 3, to be followed by the remaining stations.
The Authorized Economic Operator Programme (AEO) seeks to build mutual partnership with businesses that consistently strive to comply with customs laws and regulations and in return beneﬁt from the customs preferential treatments proposed under the AEO scheme.
Today an addition of eight companies received the AEO status making the total number of accredited companies 36. These include,Total Uganda Limited,Britannia Allied Industries Ltd, Kuehne&Nagel Uganda Ltd, Kargo International Ltd, Parth International Ltd, Bolax Enterprise Ltd, Super Plaza Enterprises Ltd and BTS Clearing and Forwarding Ltd. According to the new arrangement, these will receive preferential treatment when clearing their goods,enjoy fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection among other benefits.
Uganda has so far upgraded four new companies from the national AEO programme to the regional AEO programme. These are Toyota Uganda Ltd, Steel & Tube industries Ltd, Rapid Kate services Ltd, Bollore Transporters & Logistics Ltd.