National, News

Juba, Kampala agree to fight trade fraud

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan National Revenue Authority and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) have signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on the Application Programming Interface (API) meant to fight the smuggling of goods.

Heads of the two institutions signed the MoU at Uganda Revenue Authority Headquarters, on September 19, 2023, in Kampala.

The MoU focuses on digital transformation programs such as tax enforcement planning, system tools, exchange of information, training, and benchmarking.

According to the NRA, the memorandum reached by the countries would also help in reducing cargo diversion meant for South Sudan to other countries.

“The MOU signed is expected to help in the reduction of cargo diversion of goods that are destined for South Sudan being diverted to the DR Congo. It can also provide technical assistance to the resource persons of the parties,” the statement reads.

The MoU will help in fighting the high risk involved in the smuggling of goods since the consignment will be tracked by URA to its final destination in South Sudan, according to the NRA.

The NRA said over the years, under-declaration of goods by businessmen has led to a decline in non-oil revenue collection.

The two parties to the agreement believed that with this MOU, the parties would share information and help reduce fraud in scanning the original invoice and bill of lading by limiting the quantity.

The Memorandum registered that the API will enable digitalization of the actual price of the goods being imported into South Sudan.

Uganda is one of South Sudan’s largest trading partners, with transactions between the two countries totaling US$ 389 million in 2021, according to the Bank of Uganda report.

Early this year, the South Sudan and Uganda National Revenue Authorities resolved to implement joint border patrols and surveillance operations along the borderline.

This is to address the vices of cigarette smuggling and fuel roundtrips that have become common at the border, but it seemed not to have materialized well due to a lack of system programming.

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