Mr Everest Kayondo, the chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has urged Trade stakeholders to further adopt the usage of the Uganda Electronic Single Window and other digital facilitation platforms, noting that such programs are enabling faster and cheaper trade.
The Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW) is a paperless platform that leverages technology to facilitate private sector trade. The system allows for electronic submission of information, documentations and processing of import, export & transit related trade documents and requests.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Kayondo noted that with electronic clearances, international traders are saving a lot of money and time.
“Well, previously, the average day taken to clear good was 11 days. It has now reduced to around 5 days. The lesser days a trader takes waiting for goods clearance, the lesser money spent,” Kayondo highlighted, adding;
“Demurrage charges are very high and also come with other penalties such as customs warehouse. Shipping lines also charge differently so at the end of the day when you compound it, a trader pays over 100 USD per day. Now if there is a system that reduces the number of days that you use to clear the goods, that means you are running away from the costs that you would have incurred for more days spent waiting for clearance.”
Related sentiments were recently echoed by Eric Onyango, a Ugandan Customs Agent at the Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP). Speaking to journalists during a tour around the Busia OSBP, he noted that the Uganda Electronic Single Window system is good, has simplified trade procedures and very advantageous to all stakeholders involved.
“I urge the government to fast track the system roll-out to all agencies involved and also educate traders and customs agents on how this system works,” Mr Onyango said.
In Uganda, UESW was rolled in November 2016 while in Kenya, KenTrade – National Electronic Single Window System was launched in 2014. In both countries, the single window systems are implemented by the sitting governments, supported by TradeMark East Africa, DANIDA, UNCTAD and other development partners.
So far, in Uganda, URA, UNBS, NDA, UCDA, UEPB, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Energy are already using this online portal while development of related interfaces for rollout to others continue to be undertaken by the PIT in coordination by MTIC. Those already using the system enjoy guaranteed faster clearance of cargo, less transaction costs, no paperwork, and limited physical interactions thus reduced bribery and convenient E-tracking of goods.