The URA Customs Department and the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) recently held a meeting to discuss the operationalization of the Gulu Logistics Hub (GLH).
Located in the Layibi division of Gulu Municipality in Northern Uganda, the GLH is a dry port and multimodal transport designed to improve the efficiency of cargo transportation by providing a single point for the clearance of goods and the transfer of cargo between rail, and road transport.
Initially, the facility was to be operated by a private operator under the Public Private Partnerships arrangement since URC did not have any funds secured to operate and maintain the Inland Container Deport (ICD).
However, it was noted that the facility can be fully utilized by URA as a Regional Custom Designated Area (RCDA) and accord the Government the opportunity to facilitate trade through a customs one-stop center.
Consequently, the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi agreed in a meeting held on 26th July 2023 that URA and URC work out the modalities on how to efficiently operate the Hub with URC handling the ICD and URA utilizing the facility as a regional custom designated area and drive traffic to the ICD.
In the meeting last week, the Assistant Commissioner of Field Services Dr. Geoffrey Okaka Owich noted that since the GLH is coined under the concept of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which brings together all Government Agencies at the border, URA would have to take over as the lead agency.
David Musoke Bulega-The Managing Director URC in his response inquired how the parastatal shall benefit from URA managing their facility and who incurs the operational costs.
Martin Ntabaazi, the manager of Corporate Services, noted that for URA to maintain the hub, it would require the full transfer of the facility to the Taxman.
“This implies that all assets will have to be transferred to URA because we cannot maintain what is not in our registry,” he stated.
From the meeting, it was resolved that the PSST change the mandate of managing the GLH to URA including incurring all costs incidental to its maintenance and operations.
The condition to this shall be that URC transfers the existing assets to the revenue body while the commercialization section will be handled in subsequent meetings and present tariffs will be applied for ICD operations.