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Uganda, South Sudan Authorities Sign Deal To Fight Fuel, Cigarettes Smuggling

Abel Kagumire Commissioner Customs at URA on the left exchanges copies of agreement with his counterpart Maj Gen Gathon Jual Riek, the Acting Commissioner of customs in South Sudan on January 12 2023.

Uganda and South Sudan customs authorities have signed agreements to strengthen the fight against the smuggling of fuel and cigarettes through the porous borders.

The agreements were signed on Wednesday at Elegu Town Council in Amuru District where the officials held a bilateral meeting on cross-border trade between the two countries.

The development follows concerns from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) on the growing illegal transit of fuel and cigarettes from South Sudan into the West Nile region and Amuru district. The major smuggling routes according to URA officials are porous areas along Oraba border point in Koboko district, which borders South Sudan’s kaya Town, and Elegu in Amuru District bordering Nimule Town.

Abel Kagumire, the Commissioner of Customs at URA says that the tax body is losing billions of Shillings in uncollected revenue from smugglers ferrying fuel in Jerri-cans into the country. He particularly pointed at Oraba border point in Koboko district where fuel smuggling is on the rise due to instability in the neighboring Kaya Town in Central Equatoria state.

Kagumire says that due to the vice that has negatively impacted revenue collection and business of fuel stations, the two authorities have agreed on joint surveillance and working to fight illegal cross-border trade.

Smuggled Fuel recovered by URA enforcement team in Yumbe District. URA Photo

Maj. Gen Gathon Jual Riek, the Acting Commissioner of Customs in South Sudan’s National Revenue Authority, says that the vast porous borders coupled with insecurity in some areas have rendered surveillance impossible.

He however notes that with the agreement in place, the two customs authorities backed by security will intensify their operations against smugglers to end the vice along the South Sudan-Uganda border point.

The leaders from the two countries also resolved to share information regarding customs operations, and extend working hours at Nimule Customs from 4 pm to 7 pm. Other resolutions included the need to build the capacity of customs staff at the Nimule border and the implementation of the single customs territory.

In November last year, URA enforcement personnel recovered 1,000 liters of petrol from smugglers in Yumbe district smuggled from South Sudan.

-URN

 

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