Addressing Trade Inconsistencies at Ugandan Borders: Responses from the URA Commissioner General
The 13th UK-Uganda Trade & Investment Summit was a platform for addressing critical trade challenges at the Ugandan border. Ray Wilburn from East African Solutions raised important issues regarding documentation and tax clarity, which led to a comprehensive response from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General. This dialogue was instrumental in shedding light on the efforts to streamline trade processes at the Ugandan border.
Issues Raised by Ray Wilburn
Wilburn pointed out the inconsistencies that businesses often encounter at the Ugandan border, specifically regarding paperwork and taxation. These issues are significant as they affect the efficiency and reliability of supply chains in and out of Uganda. He emphasized the need for clear documentation guidelines and inquired about the availability of resources and support systems, such as hotlines, to address border issues effectively.
In response, the URA Commissioner General referred to the East African Community Management Customs Act, which now regulates customs duties under East African law. This shift signifies a move towards a more standardized and regional approach to customs regulation.
Further, the Commissioner highlighted the availability of a comprehensive list of tax-free items under the fifth schedule of the Act, which can be accessed both online and in print. This list includes strategic raw materials beneficial for East African countries, providing clarity and transparency in customs procedures.
The URA also encourages the utilization of established communication channels, including toll-free lines and email, to resolve trade-related concerns. These platforms ensure direct access to URA officials and offer a transparent way for businesses to address their issues.
Additionally, the session underscored the involvement of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in facilitating communication between traders and the URA. This involvement has been significant in reducing trade disputes and strikes, thereby enhancing trade efficiency.
The 13th UK-Uganda Trade & Investment Summit brought to the forefront the initiatives taken by the Uganda Revenue Authority to address inconsistencies at the border and provide clarity in import duties, taxes, and customs processes. The URA’s dedication to transparent communication and taxpayer support, coupled with the involvement of entities like the PSFU, showcases Uganda’s commitment to facilitating smoother trade operations. These efforts are crucial in ensuring that Uganda’s trade system operates efficiently and reliably, fostering a more business-friendly environment.
Summary: “The speaker highlighted the various tax incentives and investment opportunities in Uganda, particularly in strategic sectors like agriculture, education, and tourism. Emphasis was placed on the tax benefits for developing industrial parks and producing for export, encouraging Ugandans in the diaspora to invest back home.”
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