Uganda will extend its electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) to South Sudan as part of a long-term strategy to curb diversion, dumping and theft of goods destined for Juba from the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
The South Sudan Revenue Authority (SSRA) Commissioner General Africano Mande and his Ugandan counterpart John Musinguzi this week met in Kampala to discuss cargo monitoring system between the two countries.
South Sudanese taxman said it had contracted a Uganda-based company, Invesco Uganda Ltd, to provide real-time valuation of goods to save money Juba has been losing over the years in false estimations of taxes.
DRC in the horizon
The company is doing similar work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Collections from Customs have been low, pushing us to make tough decisions. Invesco’s services will help us improve collections,” Mr Mande said.
This benchmarking visit to Uganda, he said, was meant to learn from URA’s cargo tracking system. URA uses the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (Rects) to monitor goods in transit. The authority has dedicated teams that monitor the system’s performance and ensure continuous stability along the trade route.
Over the years, URA and SSRA have collaborated on several issues. Last year, they signed a bilateral agreement on trade facilitation.
The tax bodies said it is through such co-operation that trade between the two nations has increased, with South Sudan now becoming Uganda’s second biggest export destination in East Africa after Kenya.
South Sudan exports more than 1,500,000 metric tonnes of goods through Uganda from the port of Mombasa annually.
Uganda set up the UKAid-funded Electronic Cargo Tracking system in 2014 to mainly curb diversion of goods in transit, reduce delays and cost of doing business across the Northern corridor.
Over the years, the system has also helped exporters track the location of their goods online in real time, reducing corruption and risks that come with physically escorting cargo to its destination.
It should be noted that in the past five years, Ugandan truckers plying the Juba route have often complained of armed groups that waylay them in transit, steal from them and sometimes kill them.
In 2017, the cargo tracking system became regional following its extension to both Kenya and Rwanda in the same year.
Two years later, in 2019, it was extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo which also has a significant amount of cargo transiting through Uganda.