URA in Fresh Dilemma As Smuggling Escalates

1836 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
He says that during the operation they impounded 98 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth 55 million shillings, 90 unregistered motorcycles, 100 bags of rice and sugar.

Uganda Revenue Authority-URA officials in Arua district are puzzled with the escalation of smuggling in the region. They claim some of items that had been kicked off the list of smuggled goods have started getting their way into Uganda. In the last three years, URA officials in West Nile region have been battling contraband cigarettes but they are now overwhelmed with consumables such as sugar and rice. As a result, URA has launched an operation of stem the vice.
 
Rogers David Sendikowa, the West Nile regional enforcement officer says that the operation is ongoing in Arua, Nebbi, Zombo, Maracha and Koboko districts. He says that during the operation they impounded 98 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth 55 million shillings, 90 unregistered motorcycles, 100 bags of rice and sugar respectively. He says the items are smuggled into the country from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, where the taxes are lower compared to Uganda.

//Cue in: “We’ve had a system…”
Cue out: …motorcycle including vehicles.”//
 
Residents attribute the escalation of smuggling to poverty. Stanley Yiacia, a resident of Tanganyika ward in Arua municipality says if government was delivering proper services and distributing national resources, nobody would resort to smuggling. Luiji Candini, the Arua district production secretary concurs. According to Candini smuggling would be history if there was enough government support for agricultural production, which he believes would employ most of the youth involved in the illicit trade.

He claims that youths only appear in name in the NAADS program, adding that most beneficiaries are actually government officials. URA attributes the survival of smuggling to the porous borders in West Nile region. There are more than 300 entry points in West Nile region alone connecting to South Sudan and DR. Congo, and 19 others in Pakwach that are not manned. 

 

About the author

Ronald Batre
Ronald Batre is so passionate about journalism that he did not wait to finish school before he started his career. This is how he started with Radio Paidha, The West Niler, Daily Monitor newspapers and later with Radio Pacis as Assistant News Editor.

To be allowed to practice his passion, Batre had struck a deal with his parents. He would complete his education. He kept his word and went through school while suporting himself with his journalism.

Entering the workplace so young attuned Batre to the plight of the youth and those who seek employment. Apart from that, he is interested in reporting about politics, local government, business and the environment. A witness to some of the destructive impact of the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in northern Uganda, Batre is interested in reporting about peace building efforts too.

Uganda Radio Network's former Gulu bureau chief, Batre is now based in Kampala. He is URN's main politics correspondent. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.