Electronic single window pushes up Uganda’s exports

Tuesday February 12 2019

Employees operate the electronic single window

Employees operate the electronic single window system. Courtesy photo 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

The Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW) has seen the country’s formal and informal exports to the region increase by 9 per cent a year later.

Numbers
Bank of Uganda figures show that between 2017 and 2018, the value of formal and informal exports from Uganda to East African Community (EAC) countries rose from $1.4b (Shs5.1 trillion) to $1.52b (Shs5.5 trillion).
Experts say this performance was attributed to the ease in clearing goods through the UESW - a system that eases clearing of goods, commissioned at the end of 2017.

Government started the implementation exercise of the Uganda Electronic Single Window Project to allow importers, exporters submit regulatory documents like permits, customs declarations and all regulatory documents using a single access point.
For it to work, some government agencies, economic operators and private sector were required to partner in December last year.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA); Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) are some agencies which have installed this system.
Others departments include Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperative and Uganda Export Promotions Board among others.

Mr David Muwonge, the deputy executive director of National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe)- an organisation of farmers who own and manage their coffee from the farm till the export sharing their experience with UEWS said: “In the last one year, we have witnessed faster processing of export documents.”
Before the UEWS was introduced, it used to take them over five days to clear their exports. This has since reduced to 1-2 days.

Experiences
Flower exporters who have used this system are also reaping the benefits.
“Many of the exporters are fully registered to the UEWS and clearing has greatly improved save for the deadline days when everyone is submitting documents the system tends to delay,” a member of Uganda Flower exporters Association who preferred anonymity because they are not the official spokesperson said.
Kampala City Traders Association’s chairman, Everest Kayondo said the system has helped traders who used to spend about 11 days to clear their goods to less than five.

This, according to Kayondo has decongested and reduced on the costs which are related to overstay of goods at the port.
Demurrage charges also come with other charges like customs warehouse, the shipping lines charge different and at the end of the day one would spend about $100 (Shs364,000) per day.

“The beauty with this system, it works correspondingly with the single customs territory to help the business community to save time,” Mr Kayondo says.
Instead of waiting for the cargo to come and dock at Mombasa port, you now simply submit using one entry to capture all the related data of and documents once.

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