Uganda Slashes Cost of Cross-Border Trade with Electronic Single Window

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An additional 16 government agencies will be linked to the Uganda Electronic Single Window (ESW) bringing the number of agencies involved in clearing international trade documents linked to the ESW to 23 in the second phase.

An ESW system enables international/cross-border traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location, enhancing clearance efficiency and reducing the time taken to clear cargo by the exchange of information between customs, other border agencies and private sector stakeholders.

The government agencies to be connected include: Uganda Investment Authority for the issuance of investment licences; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives for tobacco export licensing; Uganda Dairy Development Authority for dairy firms licences and import/export permits; and Airlines for sending customs and importer advance electronic cargo manifest information.

Others are Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry for issuance of non-preferential Certificates of Origin for exports from Uganda; Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for management of tax exemption regimes; and Uganda Free Zones Authority for issuance of international investor operator licences.

“I commend the government of Uganda for supporting initiatives that lead to reduction of costs of doing business, especially its partnership with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) which has ensured successful implementation of projects that impact big and small businesses especially women,” Mogens Pedersen, Danish Ambassador to Uganda said.

The electronic single window system is a partnership between TMEA and DANIDA Uganda whose total investment in the project totals $10.5 million.

Expressing appreciation for DANIDA’s support to TMEA, Annete Mutaawe, Chief Strategist for the trade facilitation agency said at full implementation, the ESW will reduce the transaction time and cost of processing documentation of imports and exports by 30 per cent.

With expectations that it will reduce time taken to cross selected border locations by 50 per cent, the ESW will improve trade systems as well as cut down the cost of business.

It will be coordinated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and implemented by the Uganda Revenue Authority.

Phase one of the ESW which was launched in November 2016 has enabled exporters to do self-registration and membership application for preferential certificate of origin and reduced from five to two the number of days it takes from the point of registration.

Inspection time for import goods and issuance of clearance certificates has also reduced from 19 to five days.

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