The Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development, on a fact-finding visit to one-stop border posts (OSBP), urged the government to improve the road network and electricity power lines along the border posts to facilitate the smooth flow of goods.
According to Jane Avul Pacuto, the vice chairperson of the committee, while speaking at a press briefing on October 10, 2023, at Malaba OSBP, she commended the role of OSBPs in improving customs clearing processes by eliminating tax crime and promoting international trade.
“My first job was in customs clearing; those days, the process was very slow, but as we inspected the operations of Non-Invasive Inspection (NII), the process was seamless,” said Pacuto.
She noted that there is a lot of harmonisation within the different departments of government. They are all under one building; “we have Customs, Immigration, even the Department of Domestic Taxes, and Security, so the issue of risk is mitigated by bringing these entities together.”
Ibrahim Bbossa, the Assistant Commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), disclosed a planned drone intervention to curb smuggling.
“If you look at URA, we have a little over 3,000. Compare us with an economy like Kenya, where they have over 40,000 staff for the population of Kenya, and an economy like the United Kingdom, where they have over 60,000 staff,” said Bbossa.
Bbossa noted that the familiarisation tour of the Members of Parliament gives them an understanding of URA’s operations and challenges.
He emphasised the need for additional staffing among all sister agencies in the one-stop border post arrangements to increase trade flow.