The Uganda National Bureau of Standards-UNBS has proposed that Uganda Revenue Authority-URA should tax only imports that have been certified by the standards body.
UNBS is mandated to develop, promote and enforce standards to ensure competitiveness of locally manufactured products and to protect the health and safety of consumers and the environment against substandard products.
The UNBS Executive Director, Dr Ben Manyindo says that all imports should be first certified by UNBS and then taxed by URA. He says that Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda first certify standards of imports before imposing taxes.
Manyindo was on Wednesday appearing before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Entreprises-COSASE to respond to audit queries for the financial years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017.
His response stemmed from a question from Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko who said that the business community had complained about making double losses.
Nsereko says that small importers claim that UNBS destroys some of their goods because they do not meet standards and yet they have already paid taxes.
Dr Manyindo says that it is mainly small importers and traders who incur losses because their consignments are inspected and verified after entering Uganda. They also pay taxes before UNBS has certified the imports.
In 2018/2019, UNBS reports show that 447 consignments estimated at Shillings 29.1 billion and 28 motor vehicles worth Shillings 650 million did not meet standards were denied entry into the Ugandan market.
Also, UNBS seized and destroyed 222 tonnes of a variety of substandard products worth shillings 992 million at the point of importation. These included food and food products, chemicals and consumable products, assorted electronics, mattresses and assorted textiles.
Nsereko, however, says that some importers who deal in goods in the compulsory category such as new and used motor vehicles have had their goods re-exported or destroyed and yet they paid inspection fees. Dr Manyindo says that its agents are supposed to be pay penalties and also compensate the importers whose goods were given certificates of compliance.
However, Rubanda woman MP, Prossy Akampurira and Nsereko doubted Manyindo’s response and asked him to submit copies of the agreements between UNBS with its five service providers for PVOC.
TUV Rhineland, Intertek International Ltd and Société Générale de Surveillance S.A (SGS) handle general goods while East Africa Automobile Service Company Ltd and Jabal Kilimanjaro Auto Elect.Mech handle motor vehicles from various countries.
The Committee has now directed URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol and UNBS officials to appear on Monday over the issue of taxation before certifying standards of imports.