Electronic tracking of goods imported to Uganda or passing through to other countries will start on Friday, Uganda Revenue Authority has said. In a statement, the revenue body has listed nine products which they will start with. These are cigarettes, wines and spirits, beer and beverages, sugar, rice, textiles, motor vehicles imported by individuals, tyres, and used clothes and shoes.
Richard Kamajugo, the commissioner for Customs at URA, said these were the most risky goods, the ones most likely to be dumped in the country when destined for export. URA says the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) devices will be attached on trucks that are in transit, and will be monitored until they reach their point of destination.
The ECTS relies on a control centre and automatic devices, which send real-time feedback to the control centre. Customs officials can then decide accordingly just in case the system sends information contrary to what had been declared, or shows that the goods are being dumped somewhere.
“[The tracking] is free of charge and upon request by clients,” said a URA statement signed by Kamajugo.
“Importers may be granted rights to individually monitor their goods while in transit.”
Kamajugo has told The Observer that this is a pilot project; if it’s successful, it will spread to other products. The ECTS is expected to help URA curb dumping of goods into the country when they are cleared as destined for neighbouring countries such as South Sudan and Rwanda.
Often, after clearance by customs officials, goods disappear before exiting the country and they are sold on the local market. This causes undue competition for local traders because they are often cheaper.
Prior to the project, URA had had to escort some of the goods physically, an expensive venture. The $5.2m (about Shs 13.1Bn) project is supported by World Bank, Trademark East Africa and the Uganda government.
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