The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has suspended clearing agents’ operations at the Malaba border after they failed to renew their annual licenses.
The number of the suspended agents is not clear but it is believed that over 80 percent of clearing firms have not complied with the requirements, thus paralysing business operations.
The URA’s move is damaging transporters and importers because their goods cannot be cleared on time, causing a delay in delivering goods to their intended destinations.
The suspension has also led to build-up of trucks, with fears that the traffic jam could extend several miles into Kenya, the neighbouring country.
Clearing agents in Uganda cannot lodge documents into the URA system until they comply with the mandatory requirement.
According to the URA clearing agents are mandated to obtain import/export documents (e.g. original import documents – bill of lading, invoice or parking list or any other documents that relate to the importation or exportation of goods).
They also have to go to the bonded warehouse or the border stations where the goods are and process transit or import documents for final clearance.
They need to provide, whenever required by customs administration, an authorization form from the firms or persons by whom they are employed to act as their customs agent.
Lastly they have to represent a client in any matter related to customs, advise a client against non-compliance to customs laws and exercise due diligence to ascertain the correctness of any information which they have imparted to a client with reference to any customs operations among others.