Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have adopted a three-band duty structure for imports from outside the customs union under the East African Customs Union (EACU) agreement. Finished products are subject to a 25% duty, intermediate products 10% and raw materials may still enter duty free. The bloc aims to have a common market by 2011. Donor funded projects in agriculture, education and health sectors, housing sales are exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT), which is currently at 18%.
Uganda has few formal trade barriers; however, bureaucratic inefficiencies, high transport costs and an influx of counterfeit consumer products are the primary reasons for increased costs for foreign businesses.
Import requirements and documentation:
Import certificates, issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry are required for goods on a ‘negative list’, including used tires and certain types of batteries. These certificates have a six-month validity.
Many products are shipped through Uganda on their way to the DRC, Southern Sudan and Rwanda. Transit time is 7 days and goods require a transit permit from the Uganda Revenue Authority.
Labelling and Marking Requirements:
Importer/Exporter name, consignee, flight/vehicles details, place of discharge, number of packages, container identity, description of goods, airway bill number/bill of lading and county of origin/destination are required markings. Additional labelling requirements have been adopted for used clothing.
Responding to Tenders
All major tenders are mainly published in the major daily newspapers, or on the website of the organisation issuing the tender. Government tenders may be issued through an open tender or through pre-qualified tendering. Prequalification is usually done and reviewed once a year by various government bodies.
Projects which are considered an opportunity for UK companies will be published on the UKTI website under the ‘Business Opportunities’ section. You may contact UKTI Uganda for guidance in applying for a publicised tender.
Companies need a number of documents to set up in Uganda, including: Certificate of registration; Company PIN Number; VAT Number. UKTI Uganda can advise on this. It is also essential to obtain/issue receipts and invoices whenever transacting to avoid potential disputes.
Getting your Goods to the Market
Being a landlocked country, the main options for getting goods to Uganda are road, airfreight and to a limited extent rail. The main seaport used by Uganda is Mombasa (Kenya), however Dar es Salaam is becoming increasingly important. There are a number of clearing and forwarding agents who have offices in the UK and Uganda. Please contact the UKTI office in Uganda if you need a list of recommended freight forwarders.