URA report shows that rice and clothes are some of the most smuggled commodities

A recently released report by URA for the period ended April shows that clothes, rice and wheat flour are some of the most smuggled goods. In the same report, cosmetics and cooking oil complete the top five most smuggled goods.

 Commodities such as salt, shoes and sandals are some of the other highly smuggled goods according to the report. URA attributes this to the ready and available market for these items in Uganda. They can also be easily concealed and sold at higher prices in Uganda unlike their countries of origin.

The April URA report further showed that garments were seized 34 times followed by rice which was seized 31 times. In the same report, wheat flour was seized 28 times while textile material 17, cosmetics and creams 13, cooking oil 7, shoes 6 and sandals 3 times. Between May 2020-April 2021 1,445 seizures resulting from outright smugging were done. This helped URA to recover about shs2.1B.

The URA acting Corporate Affairs commissioner, Mr Ian Rumanyika said these seizures meant that government was able to recover revenue it would have lost in the process. 

Mr Rumanyika said that this reports illustrates the continued challenge URA faces especially with particular goods, among them fast moving items as 139 seizures were carried out in the month of April alone.

“Smuggled goods are fast moving items with ready market which makes it easy for smugglers to transact,” Rumanyika said. 

The report however hinted at the reduction in smuggling of cigarettes which has long been one of the most smuggled goods. This shows a reduction in it’s illegal trade and can be attributed to a number of innovations.

This reduction could be attributed to the introduction of the digital stamps. These require cigarettes traders to carry a digital stamp on each commodity they put on market. 

Mr Rumanyika also attributed that URA had seen a reduction in illegal trading due to the use of digital solutions on the most smuggled items such as sugar.

The digital stamps in question are physical paper stamps that bear security features and codes put on goods during packaging to enable manufacturers and traders track a product’s movement.

URA was able to implement the digital stamps on the gazetted goods after a long battle with manufacturers in 2019. Some of the gazetted items include beer, spirits, tobacco, water, soda, wine among others.

URA has also gone ahead to indicate that sugar and cement will also be tasked to carry digital stamps implemented under the Digital Tracking Solution.

URA report on Seizures May 2020- April 2021

MONTHTotal No. of seizuresValue ($)Revenue Recovery from Outright Smuggling

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