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No more trade fraud! URA acquires technology to detect illegal imports

Screens displaying images captured by the new state-of-art CCTV cameras and systems at Customs (Photo: URA)

NAKAWA – Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has confirmed acquiring technology that ensures accurate detection of illegal imports and trade fraud at their clearance points.

The new effort will see URA curb trade concealment, mis-declaration and under declaration of commodities at Uganda borders by traders.

According to URA, the newly acquired technology known as Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) is also embedded with radiation detectors that help in protecting the environment from contaminated items, ensuring Chemical, Biological Radiological Nuclear Safety

While sharing insights ahead of the launch of the inspection technology at Busia and Malaba on Monday, the tax body revealed that “Non Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology ensures faster cargo clearance due to enhanced automatic decision making.

Media reports indicate that Uganda has been losing up to 30 per cent of its annual tax revenues to smugglers, denying the country the much needed funds to grow.

Data released by the Uganda Revenue Authority also shows the country could be losing as much as Ush1.8 trillion annually to smuggling even as the body struggles to fight fraud in import clearance

URA recently traders piloted the Electronic Cargo Tracking system for transit goods that is aimed at helping Customs officials and stakeholders have real time information about the movement, location and any other developments on cargo under customs control.

ECTS comprises of a central monitoring center, e-seals which communicate with the center whenever vehicles divert from geo-mapped routes or when goods are tampered with. Rapid response teams are dispatched when things go wrong.

The system is internet-based and does not require massive physical infrastructure, which makes implementation easier and faster. The e-seals’ long battery life helps to track and recover them when dumped.

According to URA, the implementation of the system helped to foil highway robberies and delays before cargo gets to its destination or crosses the border to another country.

The system further provides real time information on the location and status of the cargo to transporters and cargo owners or their agents as the goods are transported to the destination.

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