The chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) Everest Kayondo has accused Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) of “betrayal” after the tax authority issued a notice to the effect that all imports will now be processed under the Single Customs Territory.
In a notice signed by Dickson Kateshumbwa, the commissioner Customs department, the tax body said “all importers that effective immediately, all payments for home consumption declarations to customs shall be valid for only 72 hours from the date of assessment as opposed to 21 days reflected on payment registration notices.”
The directive means that importers now have 72 hours instead of 21 days to make declarations.
They will also be required to pay their customs duties at the first port of entry into East Africa.
URA said the move is aimed at harmonizing the country’s Customs rules with those of the East African Community, guided by the EAC Customs Management Act 2004 and the EAC Customs management regulations 2010.
But traders said it would make their life harder.
Kayondo said: “This system requires a lot of money. There is a lot of insecurity of the goods. Consolidators, off loading persons, custom bonded ware houses and agents will all be kicked out of business. They have just created a business crisis,” he said.
He said they are going to march peacefully to the ministry of Trade headquarters next week to protest the move.
Tom Byarugaba, a customs agent said URA did not consult stakeholders about the move.
“URA should consult traders before issuing such notices.This notice is going to hold all traders in Uganda hostage,” he said.