August 7, 2023
By Irene Kabakama and Joshua Niyonshima
John Musinguzi, the Commissioner General of URA has cautioned cargo consolidators against frustrating importers because it affects revenue collection.
Musinguzi’s caution was prompted by a video that went viral on social media of a trader who claimed URA had kept his goods and refused to release them. Musinguzi explained that this incident occurred as a result of a cargo consolidator deceiving the importer and blaming URA instead.
“URA is going to deal with consolidators to the letter; stop being middlemen. A taxpayer must pay their tax; we shall not process goods that lack documents like the master bill of lading, loading list, and many others. People should get their goods tithing a day of clearing. It is a new season at URA, and we need to fight corruption to the core. It takes two to end corruption. Officers cannot be corrupted without your facilitation. The will is there, the capacity is there, and we can develop Uganda together,” he said.
Musinguzi, who was speaking at an engagement with the cargo consolidators added that URA will blacklist and pursue legal action against any clearing agents, staff, or leaders of consolidated cargo who swindle taxpayers and damage URA’s reputation.
He urged the cargo consolidation fraternity to clean themselves as URA rids itself of corrupt staff.
Chairman of the cargo consolidators, Kenneth Ayebale, warned his colleagues not to share Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) and bank account information since middlemen use these details to swindle traders and accuse URA for it.
Issa Sekitto, the spokesperson for the Kampala Capital City Traders Association, urged traders to follow the law and advised all sides to work together to find a solution.
To further simplify cargo clearance, Musinguzi said URA will provide a customs valuation database for traders on its website and social media channels to ensure that traders can accurately calculate their taxes without the assistance of third parties.
“Speed and fairness are what the trader requires; those who have been profiting from values and valuation are now finished since corruption in values is going to be no more; we want the support of traders. We are using technology and intelligence,” he said.
Additionally, consolidators will receive training to better improve their ability to handle cargo.