The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is swinging the axe on individuals who have held onto Temporary Road Licenses for longer than is legally accepted.
A Temporary Road License (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 in most cases come from Sudan and Congo. With the TRL, a person is granted a maximum of 90 days and once they elapse, they are supposed to return to their countries.
However, this is not the case. Some foreigners and Ugandans living out of the country commonly known as basummer violate the TRLs. They choose to stay and test their luck. According to Emmanuel Emasu, an Enforcement officer in Customs, staying back with an expired TRL is an offense.
“If you have been granted a TRL you are not supposed to lend out your car or sell it to anyone here[Uganda] without permission. If you want to sell it, you have to notify the Commissioner Customs,” Emasu said of the TRL violations.
Some of the affected vehicles parked at URA Head Office in Nakawa
A clean up in the central business district of Kampala is currently ongoing to net culprits misusing these regulations.
Last week, a team from the URA ’s Customs and Tax Investigations Department combined efforts and impounded 11 high performance vehicles. These included Jeeps, Hummers and BMW X6. They were got in the areas of; Kabalagala, Kololo, Ntinda, Munyonyo, Entebbe and Ggaba.
Most of these posed with foreign plates yet had expired TRLs, some had sold the vehicles to different individuals and others had no documents.
Emasu, explains that all the owners of the affected vehicles are undergoing offence procedure.
“The offence starts by identifying the crime before one is penalized. Those who fail to fulfil their penalties, their cars get auctioned in the long run,” he emphasized.
High-end vehicles like these will not be accepted on the roads without the right documentation
Ibrahim Bbossa, the URA Spokesperson noted that URA is expected to collect more revenue this financial year without new policy measures: so continuous driving of non-authorized vehicles on the road affects the taxes URA collects for improved service delivery.
He also added that URA that the authority is committed to cracking the vice to ensure that every Ugandan pays their fair share of revenue.
Currently, a number of field operations are ongoing to net more culprits.