Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has vowed not to allow Uganda become a mafia economy by crushing the sophisticated smugglers.
The remarks were made by Dicksons C Kateshumbwa, the Commissioner Customs at URA during meeting with digital media editors and influencers at the tax body’s head offices in Nakawa on Friday.
“When you allow smuggling, you promote a mafia economy. We (URA) shall not allow a mafia economy,” Kateshumbwa said, adding that businesses paying taxes can’t flourish when their competitors (smugglers) are not paying taxes.
He revealed that his fight against smuggling hasn’t been smooth, with smugglers using all means to tarnish his name and URA at large.
His comments come at time when smuggling is becoming more sophisticated, with the latest case being a bus that had fabricated a layer to conceal taxable goods.
The goods were in the bus Registration number T 506 DHX belonging to Moshi Luxury Coach.
URA’s Intelligence team at Busia Customs-Eastern Uganda last weekend nabbed the smugglers using the recently-deployed mobile scanners.
“On Saturday morning, the bus appeared to our check point and we embarked on searching. It seemed empty because they had fabricated a layer to cover the goods. We subjected it to a scanner and used a grinder to cut the top layer only to find several concealed goods,” URA said.
Vincent Seruma, Assistant Commissioner-Public & Corporate Affairs at URA told online editors that most smuggled items include rice, cigarettes, sugar, wheat, cosmetics and motorcycles.
He said URA collects about Shs43bn annually through enforcement along major routes.