By Samuel Balagadde
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) will this month start implementing the Electronic Cargo Tracking System aimed at increasing compliance to tax payment and to combat rampant commodity dumping.
The system relies on a control centre and automatic devices that are attached to trucks, which give feedback to URA customs officials at the control centre. It will be fully operational by November.
Sarah Banage, the URA assistant commissioner public and corporate affairs, said the feedback sent to the control centre includes the location of the cargo trucks, the speed at which they are moving and the status of the container, indicating whether it has been tampered with or not.
“When the device placed on the truck gives information contrary to that declared earlier, the customs officials can take action,” said Banage.
She said the authority has been challenged with physically escorting and monitoring of the cargo trucks because it is tiresome, time consuming and needs more manpower.
The system will first be used on high-risk goods such as sugar, wines and spirits, textiles, explosives and cigarettes.
Banage said the system will also help businessmen monitor their goods and easily locate them in case of robbery.
Henry Saka, the URA commissioner for domestic taxes, said the system is among other innovations geared towards easing and improving trade both locally and internationally.
William Busuulwa, the chairman of the Uganda National Transporters Association (UNTA), said the system is a good initiative, but more attention should be put on the gross weight of the cargo to avoid contradictions at weighbridges.