Initially, URA was only tracking goods in-transit from Busia/Malaba boarders. Commissioner Customs Richard Kamajugo said this during the tour of the URA Transit Monitoring Unit and Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) by a team of European Union delegates.
The $5.2 million project was set up in March with support from the government, the World Bank and TradeMark Africa (TMA).
TradeMark Africa (TMA) is the lead consultant for the project which is expected to be fully implemented by the end of November. August is a testing period which is ongoing until then.
Kamajugo said the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) that was introduced by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) early this year mainly aims at improving efficiency and reducing the cost of doing business.
According to him, ECTS relies on a control centre and automatic devices. The devices are attached onto a truck and constantly give feedback to the team at the control centre. Among others, the feedback includes include location of a vehicle, speed and status of the container that is to say helps notify whether the truck has been tampered with or not.
“If the device gives information that is contrary to that declared earlier, for example, goods being dumped here instead of being exported, customs officials make a decision accordingly,” Kamajugo said,
The commissioner said there were challenges that made ECTS inevitable. Among them was having to physically escort and monitor movement of goods, which was tiresome, time-consuming and needed a lot of manpower, delay of goods on the road as a result of diversion of cargo transit cargo, absence of reliable statistics and absence of actual location of goods.
He said “We conducted a study and realized that there are lots of inconveniences regarding movement of cargo. It was upon this that URA decided to procure a system that eliminates the challenges.”
Additionally, he said this system will aid transporters, and will ensure faster and yet secure movement of cargo since the current processes are costly and cannot ensure paramount security to goods entering and exiting the country
The system will be pioneered on high-risk goods like sugar, wines and spirits, textiles, explosives, and cigarettes. Thereafter, it will be rolled out to other types of merchandise.
The system, according to Kamajugo, enables parties like customs officials and transporters to receive fulltime and real-time updates.
“URA has over the years introduced initiatives such as One-Stop Border processes and 24-hour operations at the major entry/exit points but the business community has sometimes not realized the benefits due to the numerous unwarranted stopovers. ECTS makes this a thing of the past.” He said.
Among some of the benefits of this system include Transit Cargo Monitoring on time, compliances’ to gazette transit routes, Provision of operational audit, reduction in delays from one week to two days of cargo movement and so on.
Source URL: East Africa Business Week
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