Two years after the launch of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS), which cost tax payers billions of shillings, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is under the spotlight over failure to track high risk goods worth sh266b.
The high tech ECTS that procured in February 2017 at a cost of sh13b was intended to control, monitor and report on status of integrity of the cargo as it moves along the designated transit routes from Mombasa Port to Kampala and Kigali.
Information from URA indicates that although in operation, the system has only tracked 20% of the high risk cargo leaving 80% to be tracked outside the system. With the launch of the system, the three countries of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda would jointly track the movement of goods and reduce the cost of doing business by reducing transit time, enhancing cargo safety and helping traders to better predict arrival of goods.
However, an audit review of the system by the Auditor General (AG) revealed that despite the presence and use of the system, high risk goods worth sh266b were not tracked until their final destination. Some of the high-risk goods include sugar, wines and spirits, textiles, explosives and cigarettes.
Quoting a review and analysis of the high-risk goods customs report, the AG, John Muwanga said the goods were not tracked and there was no evidence in form of serial numbers for the e-seals used to track them.
“Under the circumstances, there is a risk that the goods may be dumped into the market without payment of the taxes,” Muwanga said.
He advised the authority to ensure that all high risk goods are adequately monitored to prevent loss of revenue, resulting from dumping goods into the market.
Muwanga said with the classification into high-risk already predetermined and set in the system, it was believed that the process of tracking would be much more efficient in terms of cost and time since it uses the global positioning system GPS technology.
“It was mainly intended to curb rampant diversion of goods in transit,” Muwanga stated.