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URA Issues New Guidelines For Rice Importers

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Apollo Mubiru

Effective June 1, 2024, traders importing rice and produce from Tanzania will be required to label it according to the new guidelines provided by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

URA said in a statement issued on Monday, June 10, 2024, that among other things, the produce will have to bear a declaration on whether the rice was milled or genetically modified, the product name, class, name of the manufacturer, batch number, net weight, storage instructions, crop year, and instructions on disposal of the used package.

This move, according to Reagan Basoga, the Supervisor of Mutukula One Stop Border Post, is aimed at upholding standards and ensuring the collection of the 75% import duty on rice originating outside the East African Community (EAC), which the taxman has been losing due to adulterations.

Geoffrey Kawere Ssozi, the Manager of Customs in the South Western region, says the requirements will be jointly enforced by customs verification and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

Kawere, who was speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement at the Mutukula OSBP, advised traders who were unable to comply to write to the URA explaining their valid reasons.

He also tasked Customs Clearing agents not to tamper with exit notes flagged off in the system, adding that very few justifiable exceptions will last for only 14 days starting on June 1, 2024.

Okada Paul Norman, the Chairperson of the Mutukula Freight Forwarders Association, requested that URA allow traders to exhaust old stock before enforcing the new labeling standards.

“Some traders already have labeled sacks that do not meet the Uganda National Bureau of Standards,” he observed.

In his remarks, Salongo Sewabumba Wasswa, the General Secretary of Mutukula General Traders Limited, noted that both Tanzania and Uganda need to harmonize their policies so that traders work in a business-friendly environment.

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