URA resorts to intelligence led operations to curb smuggling in West Nile

URA resorts to intelligence led operations to curb smuggling in West Nile

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi  

ARUA. The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) boss has announced that the tax body’s enforcement officers will this time round rely on intelligence led operations to curb smuggling in the West Nile sub-region.

John Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General revealed the new strategy to local leaders in the region during a stakeholders’ meeting held at Desert Breeze hotel in Arua city on Monday (February 12, 2024).

Acording to Musinguzi, through intelligence operations, URA will avoid mistakes which recently led to loss of innocent lives in the process of curbing smuggling in West Nile.

“We have agreed that going forward, we are going to have intelligence led operations in this region. We are going to try and minimize pursuing small people and try and intercept these things from as far as we can,” Musinguzi revealed.

The local leaders listen to Musinguzi during the meeting at Desert Breeze hotel on Monday. Photo by Andrew Cohen Amvesi

The local leaders listen to Musinguzi during the meeting at Desert Breeze hotel on Monday. Photo by Andrew Cohen Amvesi

“The borders are porous, we know the challenges there but once we use intelligence, we coordinate this properly with the army, with intelligence, with URA teams, I think we will be able to do a great job led by intelligence. So, that is one of the areas we have agreed to help us and we will be cracking big stores,” Musinguzi added.

He noted that the recent interceptions of smuggled goods have been quite big yet the URA team has not been so much on the roads.

“I stopped in Pakwach yesterday and I saw big tones of cooking oil, I saw big tones of milk powder, I found huge amounts of cement and many other things intercepted there in the recent days because of the change in tactics. So, we are changing tactics but we are also going to coordinate with these agencies more effectively and efficiently,” Musinguzi remarked.

Musinguzi, however, condemned the recent killings by URA officials in the region and also implored the public to desist from violence against tax collectors in order to make their work easier for the good of the nation.

Similarly, in an effort to reduce the rate of smuggling in West Nile, Henry Musasizi, the State Minister of Finance in charge of General Duties allowed the people in the region, with immediate effect, to start paying for their unregistered motorcycle number plates in installments up to a period of six months.

Musasizi also reduced the charge for a motorcycle number plate in the West Nile sub-region by a half; from shs1.5m to shs750,000.

The news excited the local leaders who pledged to start mobilizing the residents to take advantage of the Minister’s directive so as to have their numberless motorcycles registered.

Later in the day, the URA team led by the Minister rushed to Koboko to address the locals in Koboko town on the same, and they are also expected to be in Okollo trading center in Madi Okollo district today (February 13, 2024) to talk to the residents over the recent shootings by URA officials in the area.

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