February 25, 2013

URA Denies Waiving Taxes on Tanzania Route

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has denied receiving any instructions to waive taxes on goods transported into the country through the Tanzanian route.

There have been allegations that government had issued the waiver to lure importers into using the alternative route to avoid delays and disruption of supplies such as fuel, which occurred during the chaos that characterised the December 2007 general elections in Kenya.

Stephen Magara, the Assistant Commissioner for Trade at URA’s Customs Department, said they have not received a statutory instruction from the relevant government agency directing them to enforce any waiver.

He said unless such a directive is made, the revenue administration body would continue to levy the current taxation regime with no waiver. He however said he was aware there were non-tax concessions offered to traders importing goods through the Tanzanian route, commonly known as the southern route.

Jim Mugunga, the spokesperson in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, told Uganda Radio Network that there was no tax waiver in place as yet. He however said government was in discussion with the Tanzanian authorities over the possibility of developing the southern route as an alternative to the Kenya route.

Concerns for an alternative route have re-emerged as the March 4 general elections draw closer in Kenya. Uganda experienced shortage of supply of commodities such as fuel leading to increased prices after violence cut off the suppliers

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