Kampala. Motorcycle spare parts, DVD players and roofing nails are among the most smuggled goods into the country, according to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) data. Also on the list are; motor vehicles, synthetic hair, garments and foot wear.
Online legal dictionary defines smuggling as a criminal offence of bringing into, or removing from a country those items that are prohibited or upon which customs or excise duties (taxes) have not been paid.
“Smuggling brings harm to the economy since it aims at evading supervision, duties and obtaining illegal profits which affect customs collections,” URA Commissioner General Doris Akol said last week while releasing revenue half year performance.
Attempts to reach Kampala City Traders Association chairman Everist Kayondo to comment on the matter were in vain because he could not pick our calls.
However, according to Ms Akol, enforcement interventions are being implemented by the authority to curb this practice. Various items have been intercepted and the arrested smugglers charged. This is to discourage the public from such acts.
She said: “Enforcement interventions yielded Shs18 billion out of 3,192 seizure notices issued during the period between July and December.
She continued: “The top risky items according to revenue recovered include motor cycle spare parts, DVD players, roofing nails, motor vehicles, synthetic hair, garments and foot wear, among others.”
Worth noting is that during the period July to December of Financial Year 2015/16, the offence of mis-declaration contributed the highest percentage of seizure, followed by undervaluation.
Outright smuggling where people physically move goods across the borders also contributed significantly and so is concealment followed by other offences.
“The main focus, therefore, is to simplify URA services and make them easily accessible; educate and sensitise taxpayers on their rights and obligations; and conduct enforcement initiatives that further improve taxpayer compliance and revenue yield,” URA commissioner for customs Dickson Kateshumbwa said in an interview last week.
And if that is done, the URA is confident that it will achieve the FY 2015/16 target.
Other measures include strengthening anti-smuggling, having stronger controls in warehousing, monitoring at the borders and increased Intelligence.
Despite smuggling, taxes on international trade performed beyond target. The good performance is attributed to administrative initiatives implemented during the period July to December FY 2015/16. According to URA, during the period July to December FY 2015/16, mis-declaration contributed highest at 38 per cent (Shs6.8b) to the total revenue recoveries, followed by undervaluation that contributed 31 per cent (Shs5.6b).
Outright smuggling contributed 15 per cent (Shs2.71b) towards the total recovery collection. The Other offences 14 per cent (Shs2.5b) and concealment contributed 2 per cent (Shs 0.35b) towards the total revenue recovery.
The targeted collections for the period January to June Financial Year 2015/16 is Shs6.1 trillion. Already, for the first half year, URA has surpassed its target by Shs47 billion. It is expected to collect Shs11.6 trillion this financial year.