Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has acquired a machine, courtesy of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), to perform tests on imported rice and verify its country of origin. This development is particularly timely as trucks transporting rice imports from Tanzania have been detained at the Mutukula border due to suspicions of mixed rice from various sources.
In accordance with the East African Community Common External Tariff (EAC-CET), the importation of rice from outside the EAC is subject to a 75% import duty, while rice sourced within the EAC enjoys a 0% import duty. Importing mixed rice constitutes a mis-declaration and potential revenue loss. With the newly acquired testing machine, URA can now effectively address these issues and promptly clear legitimate imports.
During an engagement with rice importers at the URA headquarters in Nakawa, Abel Kagumire, the Commissioner of Customs, conveyed that rice lacking the Tanzania Bureau of Standards stamp would be subject to the appropriate taxes. Traders without licenses authorizing rice export from Tanzania would also be responsible for the required tax payments.
John Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General, emphasized URA’s commitment to ensuring fair competition and a level playing field. This vigilance over rice originating from outside the East African community is intended to achieve this goal. He further reported that 85% of the detained trucks at Mutukula were released following tests conducted by the Tax Investigations department of URA.
Musinguzi explained that thorough research was undertaken to confirm the rice’s Tanzanian origin, with 85% being cleared. Tests for the remaining 15% are pending as many of the rice shipments have mixed origins. Additional tests will be conducted to make informed decisions.
Musinguzi cautioned traders against engaging in corrupt practices, emphasizing that these actions could hinder trade and lead to revenue losses. He also urged officers not to unnecessarily hold containers for extended periods without a valid reason or a documented statement.
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- Business Aggrey" is a 23-year-old Ugandan journalist and Editor-in-Chief at The Black Examiner newspaper
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