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URA Prepares Crackdown On Foreign Registered Vehicles :: Uganda Radionetwork
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URA Prepares Crackdown On Foreign Registered Vehicles

This license authorizes a person a maximum of 90 days and once they elapse, they are supposed to return they to their countries, but the authority says this has not been happening.
Most of the foreign registered vehicles bear South Sudan and DR Congo plates. Photo by URA
The Uganda Revenue Authority-URA is increasing its vigilance against foreign registered motor vehicles and those bearing Temporary Road Licenses that have expired.

The tax body expects a sharp rise in such motor vehicles on the road as many foreign-based Ugandans return home for the end-of-year season, while some foreigners visit the country with their cars.

They are known for causing “inflation” in town because of too much spending on expensive drinks and food. Their expenditure also spreads to driving around luxurious cars, in most cases, foreign registered plates because URA has issued them a Temporary Road License (TRL).

A TRL is a document usually given to foreigners intending to come into Uganda with their foreign registered vehicles or Ugandans working abroad with valid work permits. These, according to URA, mainly come from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This license authorizes a person a maximum of 90 days and once they elapse, they are supposed to return to their countries, but the authority says this has not been happening.

Some foreigners and the “Ba-summer” (Ugandan returnees) violate the TRLs by choosing to stay “and test their luck” with expired TRLs which is an offense. “If you have been granted a TRL you are not supposed to lend out your car or sell it to anyone in the country without permission.  If you want to sell it, you have to notify the Commissioner of Customs,” Godson Mwesigye, the Manager of Enforcement Operations said of the TRL violations.

URA’s crackdown has seen several culprits netted and had their cars impounded, the latest being a Mercedes-Benz GLE350d that was intercepted in Adjumani.  According to the Customs Enforcement team in Elegu, the Benz had plates belonging to a Toyota.

“This means it had paid taxes in South Sudan and crossed over to Uganda with unpaid taxes. In order to avoid taxes, the owner was “clever” enough to change the plates belonging to a different car," explained a Customs officer.

The impounded Benz is currently parked at the URA offices in Elegu.

The penalty includes a fine of taxes amounting to 20,000 US Dollars (76,000,000 Uganda shillings), but the vehicle may be auctioned in case the owner fails to clear the penalties.

Ibrahim Bbossa, the URA Spokesperson noted that URA is expected to collect more revenue this financial year so continuous driving of non-authorized vehicles on the road affects the tax collections.

He said that currently, several field operations are ongoing to net more culprits, as URA enforces its mandate by cracking the vice to ensure that every Ugandan pays its fair share of revenue.

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