Uganda Revenue Authority takes over issuance of key export document – Certificate of Origin

Ugandan exporters to enjoy savings from the move
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is now the institution tasked with issuance of Certificate of Origin in the country. The revenue authority will commence issuance at Kampala and Entebbe and roll out the service in other regional offices in the next six months. The Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) previously issued the certificate.
A Certificate of Origin is a shipping document indicating that shipped export goods are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country to reassure consumers of the origins of commodity purchased.
The URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol made the announcement during a meeting held early this month with Electronic Single Window project implementation team and over 180 exporters. The meeting deliberated the implication of the Finance Act 2016 whose implementation follows the directive by the Minister of Finance at the 2017/17 budget speech. Issuance of CoO by URA will lead to immediate reduction of key export costs like payment of CoO and registration fees with the reduced costs totalling to over US$50,000. Forecasts indicate that the change and a fully implemented electronic Single Window will enable businesses to save over US$500,000 annually.Development of a Uganda Electronic Single Window (UeSW) has made the change possible. TMAthrough funding from DANIDA is supporting UeSW development with URA as the lead implementing agency. Other agencies in the process include: the Uganda National Bureaux of Standards, National Drugs Authority, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Energy, Ministryof Foreign Affairs and the Coffee Development Authority. DANIDA is financing the project. Once the electronic Single Window is rolled out, exporters will not need to re-register, as URA will use the existing UEPB database that already has over 30 exporters registered. The electronic Single Window will reduce paper work required from traders during import and export by integrating different institutions and agencies requiring such documentation into a single e-portal where traders lodge documents simultaneously. Such documents include import and export permits, trading invoices, and certificates of origin. An operational UeSW will lead to a reduction of transaction costs and time by 30%.

To ensure smooth roll out, adoption and utilisation of new system, URA will set up Trade Facilitation information desks within the Commissioner of Customs offices where the business community can access important information in real time.Moses Sabiiti, the Country Director TMA Uganda commended the GOU intervention of eliminating the requirement of multiple registration and fee payment. He added, “We are honoured to partner with the government of Uganda to increase our country export capacity. Today, we celebrate because through this new announcement the government has proven its commitment to boost export capacity, which we believe, will consequently lead to creation of employment as export businesses thrive. TMA commits to continue its partnership with the government through key institutions to ensure that businesses are able to operate optimally and compete globally.”

Present Ugandan exporters expressed optimism in increased efficiency of business processes with the ongoing automation. They urged the government and its partners to expedite automation of UEBP systems as they had direct impact on business environment in Uganda.


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.