Amb. Patrick Mugoya, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday received computer equipment worth $10,000 from Trade Mark East Africa as part of the roll-out of Phase 2 of the Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW). The UESW is the system through which all MDAs will be sharing information pertaining to trade and customs clearances electronically, enhancing clearance efficiency and reducing time taken to exit cargo. The Danish Government (DANIDA) funded the first phase of the UESW with a $5million grant channeled through TradeMark East Africa, followed by another $5million for phase 2.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a major stakeholder in the clearance of Diplomatic Cargo for Diplomatic Missions, persons and entities resident in Uganda, as well as Uganda’s Diplomatic staff on return of duty into Uganda. The Equipment which is meant to facilitate the addition onto the UESW of the MoFA, was handed over by Mr Moses Sabiiti, Country Director of TradeMark East Africa and witnessed by senior officials officials and representatives from the Ministries of Tourism, Trade, and Industry, URA, and NITA-U.
The first phase of the Electronic Single window brought under one roof, key government agencies involved in the import and export process. They are: Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, National Drug Authority (NDA), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MoEMD), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB). By the end of phase 2, it is expected that there will be 22 Government Ministries, Department and Agencies interfacing on the window.
Following a successful trial period at the Ministry Headquarters in Kampala, the system is expected to be rolled out to Uganda’s Embassies and Consulates as the Economic and Commercial Diplomacy strategy is implemented. The newly opened Uganda Consulate in Mombasa which oversees the import and export of goods through the Port of Mombasa will be linked to the window as well. It will contribute to the reduction in time taken to import to Uganda from Dar-Es-Salaam and Mombasa ports.
Amb. Mugoya welcomed the roll-out of phase 2 stating that the introduction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs onto the ESEW would facilitate and reduce on human interaction and would expedite decision-making and turn-around time for clearances. Among the benefits of the new system for the Diplomatic Community will be a reduction in physical movement, time spent will reduce from 2-3 days to 3 hours, there will be improved coordination and information sharing. “It moves us to a totally different level in terms of efficiency,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary emphasized, however, that given the nature of its constituency, the MoFA would retain exclusive control and management on user access controls for certain areas of the system in order to fulfill its obligations and exercise requisite protections of privileges and immunities under the various Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations and Consular Relations to which it is a party.