Uganda is a big importer of a variety of goods ranging from automobiles, electricals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, apparel, alcoholic and soft drinks, machinery, through Entebbe airport and other designated border points like Malaba, Nimule and Mutukula.
In 2020 Uganda imported merchandise worth $ 8.25 billion, a higher value compared to previous years. The country’s import partners include; China, India, Kenya, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Gambia, and Zimbabwe.
A lot of the hurdles traders face in importation of their goods would be non-existent if they knew what they needed to do. An example is the fine of 15 percent that is paid when goods arrive in the country without the Pre verification of Conformity certificate (PVoC). The lack of information has often proven to be quite costly, according to the industry analysts.
To ensure that traders do not pay hefty fines because of lack of information, the government of Uganda and its development partners have unveiled a trade information portal (https://ugandatrades.go.ug/). The trade information portal gives access to transparent practical step-by-step guidelines to the licenses, pre-clearance permits and clearance formalities for the most traded goods in and out of Uganda. The platform avails timely information regarding commodities that the trader intend to import or export.
According to the guidelines, imports are required to undergo pre inspection and to bear a PVoC certificate on arrival. The certificate confirms quality and safety of imported goods and is got through appointed agents.
The PVoC verifies the conformity of all regulated products and enforces their standards. Compliance to PVoC requirements is applicable in addition to any existing import processes. Every consignment of regulated products exported to Uganda must have a Certificate of Conformity.
The importation must be in conformity with the set standards as prescribed by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The platform was developed by the government of Uganda in partnership with the National Trade Facilitation Committee, East African Community (EAC), Trade Mark East Africa, USAID, United Nations (UN) and International Trade Centre.