PUBLISHED ON January 21st, 2015

Trade facilitation systems to widen Uganda tax base- Dutch envoy

Government has been asked to embrace the trade facilitation systems being implemented by Uganda Revenue Authority to increase revenue which will reduce dependence on donor aid.

The call was made by the Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda Alphons Hennekens while taking six Dutch ambassadors from DR Congo and East African Region on a tour of some of the trade facilitation projects they have been supporting through Trade mark East Africa.

Trademark East Africa is a multi-donor funded agency aimed at facilitating trade in the East African region which will in the long run increase cross border trade in the region.

Hennekens said that the Netherlands government is committed to supporting Uganda through the implementation of trade facilitation projects like the electronic cargo tacking system, single window system which will reduce the time spent at the documentation center among others.

He said such systems will naturally increase the tax revenue for URA because of increased efficiency and compliance by traders when it comes to paying taxes as required by the URA officials at the customs.

Some of the systems the Ambassadors understood include the electronic tracking of cargo system which has led to the elimination of physical escorts, improved the security of goods in transit, improved staff performance and reduced transit time from 8 days to 2 days resulting in cost savings of US$400-600 per truck per day.

The Ambassadors noted that the new ASYCUDA World computer system has enabled URA to implement the Single Customs Territory (SCT) by eliminating the need of multiple declarations to just two, at the point of entry in the EAC and at final destination.

The chief executive officer Trade mark East Africa, Frank Matsaert said that some of the systems have already created impact by increasing the customs revenue by 21%,a huge saving that can be used for the construction of schools, hopsitals in the country.

He also added that they have finalized plans of supporting the creation of the national single window system that will bring together all agencies related to trade on one IT platform.

“This should be able to reduce time and money spent by traders moving from one agency to another to clear their containers. This will also reduce congestion at the border points,” said Matsaert.

The other process they are supporting is the documentation processing center in addition to promoting Uganda’s Electronic Cargo Tracking system to all countries in East Africa.

At the same meeting the commissioner customs, Richard Kamajugo told the visiting delegation that there still need for more money to fund the electronic cargo tracking system to reduce the number of tracks and consignments that disappear along the way or end up in countries where they are not supposed to be or when tampered with in transit.

Source: New Vision

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.