Hide and skins have taken over from tobacco and polythene bags as the most smuggled commodities according to Uganda Revenue Authority. URA data indicates that in the last twelve months hides and skins were the most smuggled commodities followed by garments and motor vehicle units in that order.
According to data obtained from URA, the government recovered Shs700 million from smuggled hides and skins.
Others making the list of most smuggled commodities include fish twines and nets, motor vehicle tyres, foot wear and counter books. “The most smuggled goods in the Financial Year 2011/2012 were wet/ dry salted hides and skins,” said Mr James Kisaale, URA assistant commissioner enforcement.
Industry players could not be reached for comments but technocrats attribute smuggling, specifically of hides and skin to sheer evasion of taxes. “I think this an attempt to evade taxes,” Dr Imelda Kagoro, a senior veterinary officer at ministry of Agriculture told Daily Monitor in an interview on Saturday. She said this is a lucrative business and traders are willing to go an extra mile to recoup all profits without paying taxes.
Last week Ms Allen Kagina, the URA commissioner general, announced a Shs39 billion surplus after struggling for most of the year to beat the revenue collection target of Shs6 trillion.
Recovered from smuggling
With improved enforcement, the tax body was able to collect more than Shs3 billion out of the most smuggled goods in the last twelve months, contributing to the overall revenue collection target of Shs6 trillion. “In the 2011/12 Financial Year, various enforcement actions raised 3,763 seizures from smuggled goods leading to a total recovery of Shs15.8 billion,” said Mr Kisaale.
He continued: “Out of these interventions, Shs3.1 billion was recovered from outright smuggling, Shs9.7 billion was from documentation fraud and Shs2.9 billion was from other offences which contributed about 18 per cent of the total revenue recovered.
Meanwhile, smuggled cigarettes worth Shs800 million was seized in the 2011/12 Financial Year.
Polythene bags Shs370 million were impounded whereas ivory worth Shs1.5 billion in was impounded at various customs stations around the country.
By Ismail Musa Ladu, Daily Monitor