Uganda collects over sh1b in taxes from inbound Kenyan cement

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) says it has collected over sh 1 billion in taxes from cement imports from Kenya since July 2023.

Paul Karatunga, the Supervisor URA Customs, revealed that it was not true that Kenyan cement is entering the Ugandan market without paying the required taxes.

Karatunga said while the vice of smuggling is still rampant, URA was also making efforts to stop it.

“There is cement that comes to Uganda through the customs-gazetted points like Lwakhakha, Suam River, and Malaba borders, and all duties are paid before it is allowed entry on the local market,” said Karatunga.

However, the officer clarified that importers must provide a Certificate of Origin and that Kenya, as a member of the East African Community, enjoys tariff treatment based on rules of origin.

Karatunga explained that the pricing differences between cement in Kenya and Uganda was a contributing factor in the smuggling of cement.

“The information we are getting is that in Kenya, cement costs about Kshs 800 per bag, the equivalent of about 19,200 Ugandan shillings. The tax on a bag of cement is Ugx 4,200 per bag for a trader with preferential treatment who has a certificate of origin presented to a customs-gazetted area,” he said.

“URA has increased field operations, intelligence-guided focused operations, and routine surveillance in an effort to combat the vice of cement smuggling. As a result, 164.3 metric tons of smuggled cement were intercepted in October and November,” the officer stated.

Meanwhile, Kenyan-affiliated companies have set up a cement factory in Uganda and plans are underway to set up a second plant valued at over $50m.

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