Government has been urged to improve internet services in bid to achieve a smooth flow of trade with other countries.
The remarks were made Thursday at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) offices by Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), while he attended today’s presentation of the National Single Window system by government.
“There is a need to improve its broadband so as to facilitate trade. Government (of Uganda) needs to treat broadband like electricity,” Dr. Kituyi advised in response to a query raised by a trader in regards to unstable network when clearing goods at the border.
The National Electronic Single Window System is a trade facilitation concept whose implementation allows traders to simultaneously submit information requirements for trade regulatory documents, such as: customs declarations; applications for import and export permits; certificates of origin; and trading invoices, through a single online portal.
The project aims at reducing transaction costs and time associated with processing documentation for selected imports and exports at key trade regulatory agencies in Uganda by 30%.
The first phase of the Electronic Single window brought under one roof 6 key government agencies involved in the import and export process.
They are Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, National Drugs Authority (NDA), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF),
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MoEMD), the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB).
According to the Private Sector Foundation Uganda 2013 report, in Uganda, as in any other developing countries, the business community involved in international trade has to regularly prepare and submit large volumes of information and documents to governmental authorities to comply with import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.
This information and documentation often has to be submitted through several agencies, each with their own specific (manual or automated) systems and paper forms.
These extensive documentation requirements, together with their associated compliance costs, constitute serious challenges to both the government and the business community and constitute non – tariff barriers (NTBs) to the development of intra-regional and international trade.
Data capture is also duplicated as the same information is provided to different Government Agencies at various points of the importation/exportation clearance process.
“Thank you Uganda e-single window team, Uganda Coffee Development Authority and my Eastern and Southern Africa team for a fantastic meeting in Kampala. Living evidence that sound trade facilitation impacts Business and can be a game changer,” Dr. Kituyi said at the conclusion of the presentation, further pledging to lobby for facilitation of the project.