Enforcement Questions and Answers

Enforcement Questions & Answers

TRANSIT MANAGEMENT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONs

ANSWERS                                                                          

i.         What services are offered by the Transit Monitoring Unit (TMU) of URA?

The Transit Monitoring Unit of URA perform the following services:

a)    Facilitating legitimate trade through:

–        Facilitating transshipments

–        Issuing permission letters for usage of open trucks to convey transit goods in exceptional circumstances

–        Managing incidents like accidents involving goods in transit

–        Validation of transit (Bond cancellation)

–        Altering some particulars like vehicle/container numbers on a transit entry

–        Extending transit period for transit goods that are reasonably delayed on journey

–        Rerouting transit consignments to new destination stations (NOT DESTINATION COUNTRIES)

 

b)    Placing controls to curb possible diversion (dumping) of transit cargo into local market,

–        Performing evidence based validation of transits exiting the country

–        Reconciling outstanding transit transactions

–        Issuing guidance/advisory on transit time

–        Issuing guidance notes on management of incident involving goods on transit

 

c)     Electronically tracking transit cargo to secure it against possible theft, and also avert possible revenue loss through diversion/dumping.

 

d)    Sensitizing and engaging stakeholders on our processes and as a mechanism of feedback sourcing

 

ii.         What is Transit?

 

Transit is a Customs procedure, where goods imported from a foreign place are moved through the territory of one or more of the Partner States, to a foreign destination

 

It is also used to cover movement of goods inwards in Partner States and out wards from EAC Partner State

 iii.         Types of Transits

Transits can be categorized into the following 3 categories:

1.     Through Transit: – This covers goods from a foreign country received in a Partner State and are entered for shipment to another foreign destination

2.     Inward Transit: – Applies to goods imported through a Customs port of entry, declared to be destined to an inland customs office/port where the goods can be cleared under the different customs entry regimes. At the port of entry, they are declared for inward transit

3.     Outward Transit: – This term is used in some spheres of Customs but ideally this is a guaranteed export and it applies to goods which are being exported from an inland Customs office to an office of exit for the final exportation procedure

 iv.         What is meant by Transit Time / Period?

Transit Time/Period refers to the time/period within which transit goods should have exited the country or arrived at destination office from date of the transit entry

  v.         Treatment of goods in Transit

1)    Goods landed & are intended for Transit cleared on initial transit entry – Form C.17 e.g. IM8, WT8, ST8 within 21 days of

2)    Taxes on goods in Transit are covered by Customs Security Bond – executed by the agent to cover their tax liability

3)    Customs Security Bond executed is at least equal to the tax liability of the goods

4)    Consignee in some instances (transit thru & outward transit) requires no TIN to declare goods in transit

5)    Transit Time is defined – not exceeding 30 days or such other period as may prescribed/allowed by Customs

6)    Conveyance of goods in transit is through routes approved by the Commissioner

7)    The law prohibiting or restricting the importation of goods does not apply to transit goods destined to a foreign destination – unless the goods are specifically listed in the Third Schedule to the EACCMA by order of the council

8)    Transit goods stored in a customs area or transit shed are at owner’s risk and liable to rent as may be prescribed

9)    Transit goods may be transshipped, under supervision by Customs, to other means of conveyance in case of need

 vi.         Are there conditions that should be met for one to convey his or her goods in transit?

Yes, for one to convey their goods in transit, they must fulfill the following conditions:

1)    Executing a Customs bond security to cover the tax liability of the goods

2)    Make sure that the route to be used while conveying transit goods is a gazetted transit route

3)    Make sure that the vehicle designated to convey transit goods licensed for transporting goods in transit.

4)    Transit vehicles must be sealable. However, in exceptional circumstances un-sealable (open trucks/flatbed) vehicles may be allowed to carry transit goods (Exceptional Loads)

5)    Transit period shall not exceed 30 days from the date of entry or any further period as the Commissioner may allow

6)    Present transit goods to Customs for examination. Most times, during examination, external features of the consignment are checked. e.g. seal number, mode of transport particulars like: chassis number BUT if there is suspicion then full examination is done.

vii.         Which routes are operated/designated for transit in Uganda?

Transit routes in Uganda include the following:

1.     Malaba – Busitema – Iganga -Jinja – Kampala

2.     Busia – Busitema – Iganga – Kampala

3.     Malaba –Tororo – Mbale – Soroti – Lira –Kamdini – Gulu – Elegu

4.     Lwakhakha – Mbale – Iganga – Kampala

5.     Kampala – Luwero – Karuma – Packwach -Vurra

6.     Kampala – Luwero – Karuma – Packwach – Arua – Oraba

7.     Kampala – Luwero – Karuma – Packwach – Lia

8.     Kampala – Luwero – Karuma – Packwach – Nebbi – Goli

9.     Kampala – Luwero – Karuma – Packwach – Nebbi – Padea

10.  Kampala – Luwero – Karuma –Gulu – Adjumani – Moyo Afogi

11.  Kampala – Luwero – Karuma –Gulu – Kitgumu – Madi Opei

12.  Mutukula – Masaka – Kampala

13.  Mutukula – Masaka – Mbarara

14.  Kampala – Mbarara – Ntungamo –Mirama Hills

15.  Kampala – Mbarara – Ntungamo – Kabale – Katuna

16.  Kampala – Mbarara – Ntungamo – Kabale – Cyanika

17.  Kampala – Mbarara – Ntungamo – Kabale – Bunagana

18.  Mpondwe – Fortportal – Mubende – Kampala

19.  Kampala – Mubende – Fortportal – Ntotoko

20.  Entebbe – Kampala

21.  Kampala – Mubende – Fortportal – Busunga

viii.         Why should a trader guarantee goods that  are to be conveyed in transit?

The reason for guaranteeing transit goods is that subject duties and taxes that are payable are suspended, for the time when such goods are being conveyed in transit.

It is therefore a legal requirement that a consignee must undertake to pay any Customs debt that might arise if the goods are illegally diverted away from the destination country without the payment of duties and taxes due. 

 ix.         Why does Customs control goods in transit

1)    To protect government revenue

2)    For economic reasons namely; protection of the local market as diversion of goods in transit can cause unfair trade

3)    It helps to prevent a possible diversion of pornographic materials into the local population hence the protection of public morals and social interests

4)    For security reasons for instance to ensure that arms and ammunitions declared and being moved in transit are not diverted to enemies of the state

5)    It helps to prevent diversion of harmful products like counterfeits product into the local market hence the protection of the health of the people

  x.         Can I use any vehicle to convey transit goods?

No, only vehicles that are licensed to convey transit goods are allowed to be used for conveying goods in transit. If your vehicle is not licensed, you should first apply and obtain a Transit Goods Licence (TGL) before using it to load and convey goods in transit

 xi.         Does Customs issue Transit Goods Licenses (TGL) to vessel which are used to convey transit goods?

It is only Vessel of less than 250 tons that are issued with a Transit Goods Licenses (TGL) in case they are to be used to convey goods in transit

xii.         How long does it take for a Transit Goods Licence to expire?

A Transit goods Licence (TGL) is for 1 calendar year

 

xiii.         What happens if one conveys transit in a vehicle without TGL?

Unless with written permission from Customs, conveying goods using a vehicle not licensed to carry transit goods (with no TGL) is an offence – attracts a fine not exceeding USD 5,000. This is stated under Section 244 (2) EAC Customs Management Act, 2004.

xiv.         How does a transporter or owner of vehicle conveying transit goods obtain a Transit Goods Licence?

The process of applying for and obtaining a Transit Goods License is managed under the Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW) platform, and it includes the following steps:

1.     Transporter/Carrier makes an application to the Commissioner for a license to transport goods in transit using form C.39

2.     The vehicle is presented to Customs for inspection at a Customs station/port, to confirm that:

a.     Vehicle is sealable

b.     Vehicle has no false compartments or floor or roofs

c.     Hinges are made and fitted such that doors and other closing systems cannot be lifted off the hinge-pins and other fasteners are welded to the outer

d.     Vehicle is marked with the words “TRANSIT GOODS” printed boldly and clearly on both sides of the vehicle

e.     Registration number on physical vehicle tally with details in subject motor vehicle registration book and Application submitted to customs

3.     When an application is approved, applicant pays a license fee of USD 200 per vehicle

4.     Commissioner issues a license on form C28.

5.     Applicant can self-print licence using his/her own log in

xv.         Do I have to pay to TGL in every EAC country if my vehicle is to convey goods in transit across more than one East African Country?

No Transit Goods Licence is paid once in any of the EAC countries, and that license will be honored in all EAC Countries

xvi.         How will the vehicles be recognized as transit vehicles?

In addition to the owner moving with copy of printed licence, vehicles that have been licensed to carry transit goods are required to be marked with the words “TRANSIT GOODS” printed boldly and clearly on both sides of the vehicle. This ensures their visibility on road

 

xvii.         Which vehicle attract payment of Road User Charges/Road Toll

Foreign Trucks that is, Road User Charges/Road Toll is paid per route at every entry into the country of foreign trucks for usage of national road

xviii.         Is Transit Goods Licence (TGL) different from Road User Changes (RUC) /Road Toll?

Yes, Transit Goods Licence (TGL) different from Road User Changes (RUC) /Road Toll in the following ways;

 

1.     TGL is paid once a year on all vehicles intended to convey goods in transit – RUC paid per route at every entry into the country of foreign trucks for usage of national road

2.     TGL fees is USD 200 per vehicle – RUC is computed according to the intended journey

Formula:

KMs to be covered divide by 100km multiplied by rate per vehicle multiplied by Exchange Rate

E.g. 288km/100 x USD 10 for truck of 3 axles x Ex rate.

 

  xix.         What is transhipment?

The transfer (directly or indirectly) of any goods from a means of transport to another under customs control while goods are still in transit

   xx.         Forms of transhipment

Forms of transhipment

a.     Direct transhipment – e.g. From truck to truck or vessel to vessel

 

b.     Indirect transhipment– e.g. the importing truck/vessel lands the goods at the Customs Port and the exporting truck/vessel picks the goods some time later for exportation or inward transit.

  xxi.         When do you transship transit goods?

Transhipment of transit goods id done on request by owner of goods – stating reasons: e.g. goods involved in accident, end of contractual obligations by transporter, breakdown of vehicle etc.

xxii.         Process for transhipment

a)    Appointed clearing agent makes a formal request/ application to TMU – RRU

b)    (stating reasons for transhipment)

c)     Review of request/application

d)    Collection of transhipment fees USD10

e)    Transhipment under customs supervision (examination & transfer of goods)

xxiii.         What should a client do in case his/her consignment of transit goods is involved in an accident

1)    Report accident to the nearest Customs office or Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and to police station

2)    Customs officer/RRU to authorize transshipment and assign an officer to supervise transshipment.

3)    Treatment of goods involved in accident – either payment of duty in case goods are consumed locally or duty remission in case goods are destroyed.

4)    Release of Transit goods and resumption of transit journey

 

xxiv.         What should a client do in case a motor vehicles unit being conveyed in transit on wheels breaks down during the transit journey?

1)    Report incident to RRU or nearest Customs office

2)    Customs officer/RRU to authorize unit to be taken to garage for repairs.

3)    Treatment of goods involved in accident – either payment of duty in case goods are consumed locally or duty remission in case goods are destroyed.

4)    Release of Transit vehicle and resumption of transit journey

 

       xxv.         What are the commonest transit violations?

The commonest transit violations include the following:

a.     Diversion of transit cargo in to the local market or off route;

b.     unreconciled transit transactions;

c.     unauthorized transshipments;

d.     use of un-gazetted routes;

e.     defacing and or removal of customs seals;

f.      unauthorized modification of vehicle units being conveyed in transit

g.     false or misdeclaration of declaration of particulars of a transit consignment

h.     etc.

xxvi.         How are transit violations managed?

1.     Depending on circumstances, the following is applied

 

a.     Cautions and warnings are issued to offenders

b.     Customs collect taxes (BIF) if cargo is dumped/lost

c.     Fines are levied within the provisions of the law

d.     Through Client sensitization and engagements

e.     Payment of replacement fees for loss of electronic devices

f.      Auto – suspension of tax agency and or exporter accounts from customs system operations

 xxvii.         What is RECTS?

RECTS stands for Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System. It is a web-based integrated system used to monitor transit cargo under Customs Control in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

xxviii.         Countries covered by RECTS

Countries covered by RECTS include; Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. South Sudan and Burundi have also expressed interest to join RECTS.

  xxix.         How does RECTS Work?

1)    Upon Confirmation of the Transit Documents, and the Integrity of the Goods, The Customs Officer physically attaches an electronic seal (eSeal) and activates the same in the RECTS. The location of the eSeal and therefore the cargo become visible in RECTS.

2)    The Centralized Monitoring Center (CMC) then monitors the consignment for any Violations along the Transit Route. Whenever there is need, after a detailed analysis, CMC Officers escalate the Alerts/Violations to Rapid Response Unit (RRU) that goes out to the Field to handle the same.

3)      Upon arrival at Destination, the Customs Officer confirms the Integrity of both the Goods and the e-SEAL, and any other additional seals e.g. Shippers seal. If found intact, then she/he proceeds to deactivate in the RECTS and physically removes the eSeal from the consignment. This terminates visibility of the consignment and ends the transit tracking journey for the consignment.

    xxx.         How much is charged for a trader to have their transit cargo tracked while moving in transit?

There is no charge by URA that is imposed to have any transit consignment electronically tracked under RECTS. Tracking any consignment under RECTS is for free.

 

However, in case of loss of an eSeal while consignment is being tracked the transporter is required to make payment of replacement fees and where loss is confirmed as having been caused by the transporter, additional penalties may be levied within the provisions of the EAC Customs Management Act, 2004.

  xxxi.         How have we benefited from RECTS?

The following are the benefits that we have realized from the usage of RECTS:

1)    It has led to enhanced cargo security through real time detection and response to transit violations

2)    We have realized shorter and reduced transit clearance time for electronically tracked cargo

3)    RECTS has led to enhanced Transit Information Exchange among the EAC Partner States

4)    Government revenue is protected

5)      RECTS has improved transit accountability

 xxxii.         How can a trader contact the Transit Monitoring Unit in case of any service support needed in their area of operation

The Transit Monitoring Unit Monitoring Unit is reacheable via the following platforms:

1.     URA Touchpoint; https://touchpoint.ura.go.ug/

2.     Telephone line: 0323 442500

 

COMPLIANCE DURING CUSTOMS CLEARANCE/

CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ANSWERS                                                                          

xxxiii.         What is a customs offence

A Customs offence is any breach or attempted breach of the statutory or regulatory provisions which are provided in the East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA)

 

Customs offences are committed when any person contravenes any of the provisions Act

xxxiv.         Commonest customs offences

Offences are generally covered by part XVII of the EACCM Act. The sections under this part spell out how a particular offence should be dealt with.

But the commonest customs offences include the following:

1)    Misdeclaration f particulars of certain goods to dodge payment of duty instance a refrigerated container declared as cooling unit, declaring wine as mineral water

2)    Outright Smuggling into or out of the country

3)    Concealment of goods

4)    Under-valuation of goods

5)    Abuse of temporary importation procedures

6)    Importation of counterfeit/prohibited goods

7)    Abuse of transit/warehousing procedures

8)    Etc.

 xxxv.         Why offences are penalized?

Offences are penalized to achieve the following:

1)    To protect society e.g. from dangerous goods

2)    To facilitate legitimate international trade

3)    For statistical purposes – collection of data to inform planning

4)    To enforce tax compliance

xxxvi.         Treatment of Seized goods

Once goods have been identified as having been dealt with in a manner that contravenes Customs law, they should be seized by a proper officer (customs officer).

 

A Form namely the C37 as provided for by regulation 200 of the EAC Customs Management Act, 2010 is written and issued to the offender.

 

The seizure notice specifies the goods being seized, the offence committed and the provisions of the law contravened.

 

Prior to writing a seizure notice, the following is done;

a.     Conducting a thorough verification of subject goods to ascertain and note correct particulars of subject goods

b.     Interviewing the offender and taking a detailed statement the of him/her or his agent and

c.     Where need be, interviewing and taking statements of witnesses

 

The goods seized are deposited into the Customs Warehouse and the offender is given copy of the seizure notice, a goods deposit slip and copy of offender’s statement.

 

xxxvii.         Treatment of offenders

1)    Offender is interviewed and a detailed statement taken of him/her or his agent about the offence committed,

2)    Offender is issued with a seizure notice on Form C37. The seizure notice specifies the goods being seized, the offence committed and the provisions of the law contravened.

3)    The offender is given copy of the seizure notice, a goods deposit slip and copy of offender’s statement.

4)    The offender is then told why his/her goods are being seized and the options available for dealing with the offence.

5)    The offender may accept having committed the offence using Form C35 namely Request to settle offence which is provided for under regulation 196 of the EAC Customs Management Regulations, 2010 and may request the Commissioner to deal with the case under Section 219 of the EAC-Customs Management Act, 2004.

6)    Alternatively, the offender may opt to go to court to have the offence settled in the courts of law under Part XIX, Sect. 220 – 228 EAC-CMA, 2004.

xxxviii.         What is the process if the offender chooses settlement of case by compounding?

1)    The offender must accept having committed the offence using Form C35 namely Request to settle offence, and clearly specify the offence he/she is admitting to be guilty of.

2)    The case officer forwards a case file to the compounding officer, which should contain the following records;

a)    Offence report made by the case officer detailing among other particulars the following; date of seizure, place of seizure, registration of means of transport at time of seizure, owner/agent, and address of owner/agent, cargo description and quantity and the section of the law contravened.

b)    Seizure notice which was issued the offender

c)     Proof of acknowledgement of receipt of seizure notice by offender or proof of service of seizure notice to offender

d)    Request to settle offence

e)    Statements made by the offender and the witness(es)

f)      And any other documents in support of the offence committed.

3)    The compounding officer reviews the case file in order to be acquainted with all facts needed to enable him/her take a decision of compounding the offence.

4)    The compound officer makes a ruling supported by the provisions of the law, which may involve forfeiture of subject goods or payment of the taxes involved and penalties and also gives an order regarding how the goods involved during the offence are to be dealt with.

5)    After the ruling, the offender proceeds to pay taxes and penalties, and upon confirmation of subject payments, subject goods may be released to the owner.

xxxix.         Do I commit an offence if my vehicle is used to convey uncustomed or smuggled goods?

Yes, it is an offence under section 199 of the EAC Customs Management Act, 2004, to use a vehicle to convey any uncustomed goods.

 

If found committing or when you have committed this offence, the person in charge of the vehicle, is liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars and the vehicle and goods in respect of which such offence has been committed shall be liable to forfeiture

  xl.         Which goods are liable to forfeiture?

Goods may be forfeited after compounding of an offence or successful prosecution.

 

Sec 210 of the EAC Customs Management Act, 2004 provides that the following goods should be forfeited:

a)    Prohibited goods

b)    Restricted goods dealt with contrary to the EACCMA

c)     Uncustomed goods

d)    Goods imported, exported, transferred or concealed in a manner to deceive a Customs officer.

 xli.         What are Prohibited goods?

Prohibited goods are any goods the importation, exportation and carriage coastwise, of which is not allowed(prohibited) under this act or any law for the time being in force in a Partner State. These include the following examples:

a)    False money

b)    Counterfeit currency notes and coins

c)     Any money not being of the established standard in weight or fineness

d)    Pornographic materials in all kinds of media

e)    Indecent or obscene printed paintings, books, cards, lithographs or other engravings, and any other indecent or obscene articles.

f)      Matches made of phosphorus

g)    Narcotic drugs under international control

h)    Hazardous wastes

i)      All soaps & cosmetics containing mercury,

j)      Used tyres for light commercial vehicles and passenger cars

k)     Counterfeit goods

l)      etc

      xlii.         What are restricted goods?

Restricted goods are any goods the importation, exportation, transfer or carriage coastwise, of which is prohibited save in accordance with any conditions regulating such importation, exportation, transfer, or carriage coastwise and any goods the importation, exportation, transfer or carriage coastwise, of which is in any way regulated by or under the customs laws.

These include the following:

a)    Unwrought precious metals and precious stones.

 

b)    Arms and ammunition specified under Chapter 93 of the Customs Nomenclature.

c)     Ossein and bones treated with acid.

d)    Ivory, elephant unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape.

e)    Teeth, hippopotamus, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape.

f)      Genetically modified products.

g)    Parts of guns and ammunition, of base metal (Section XV of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System), or similar goods of plastics under Chapter 39 of the Customs Nomenclature

h)    Etc.

xliii.         How can a trader contact the Customs Enforcement in case of any service support needed in their area of operation

Customs Enforcement is reachable via the following platforms:

 

1.     Telephone lines: 0323 442192

                           0323 442190

 

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One Reply to “Enforcement Questions and Answers”

  1. Good information.
    For transits; wt8,st8 and im8. where can one focus more in order to avoid mistakes?

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