Five months after Parliament passed a law banning the importation of used vehicles whose date of manufacture goes above 15 years, the ban has been effected by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
On May 30 this year, MPs after a heated debate passed the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill 2018 which provides for banning importation of motor vehicles that are eight years old or more from the date of manufacture.
The same Bill provides for variation of motor vehicle registration fees as well as environmental levy on vehicles.
The basis of the tough amendments by government has to do with the danger that the emissions from these cars cause on the environment.
Initially, the Ministry of Finance proposed a ban on cars manufactured beyond a period of 8 years. But the Parliament Committee on Finance after consultations with the relevant stakeholders instead proposed a phased ban beginning with vehicles with a 15 year age limit.
Now, URA has made directives to the authorities at the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salam to prohibit all used vehicles bound for Uganda whose date of manufacturer goes beyond 15 years.
The Commissioner for Customs at URA, Dicksons Kateshumbwa said that the ban took effect yesterday, Monday October 1.
“Effective last night midnight, no car that us older than 15 years us allowed to be imported in the country,” Kateshumbwa told the press on Monday.
“We have alerted our teams at the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salam. We have also adjusted our system to make sure we put that restriction,” he added.
In the financial year 2016/17, URA cleared 50,000 vehicles generating about Shs 1.3 trillion in taxes.
Car dealers say the ban on older vehicles will sharply lower these figures but in addition, about 11,000 people who are currently employed in the car industry are likely to be left jobless.
The dealers say that out of the 50,000 vehicles imported by Uganda annually, only 10% are new vehicles fall under the 8 year age limit (manufactured after 2011).
URA has given the car dealers three months to clear their old stock.