Uganda strengthens its capacity for controls on air passengers

31 enero 2020

On 27 January, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, Doris Akol, announced the launch in Uganda of the Global Travel Assessment System (GTAS), an advance passenger data risk assessment system that enables advance passenger information (API) and passenger name record (PNR) data to be collected and analysed electronically.  In so doing, Uganda is joining the growing number of countries that effectively leverage API and PNR to risk assess passengers in advance of arrival to the country.

The WCO considers the analysis of API and PNR to be an effective means for enhancing border security whilst facilitating travel for low-risk passengers. Pre-arrival and pre-departure risk assessment provides benefits to Customs and other border security agencies, as well as air carriers, airport authorities, and in turn, also additional security for the passengers themselves.

As part of its Security Programme, the WCO Secretariat has been assisting Members through the provision and deployment of free targeting software known as the Global Travel Assessment System (GTAS) to support their efforts.  GTAS is a software that allows targeting officers to collect and analyse API and PNR data and conduct risk assessment well in advance of a passenger’s arrival. 

In October 2017, under the leadership of Commissioner Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA approached the WCO Secretariat to discuss its needs and the possibility of installing the GTAS.  A pilot implementation team was then set up who diligently started working with representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority, air carriers operating in the country, and a data service provider. After a successful pilot period and official launch of GTAS, the data is now analysed by officers from the Uganda National Targeting Centre, who have received training on how to use the software.  Training was also provided to other Customs officers, URA business and strategic analysts, and information and technology (IT) specialists. 

The implementation of GTAS will enable Uganda to comply with its international commitments and obligations, including the 2012 WCO Recommendation Concerning the Use of API and PNR for Efficient and Effective Customs Control, the WCO Punta Cana Resolution of December 2015 on the role of Customs in the security context, and the United Nations Security Resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2396 (2017), which create a new policy framework for international action in response to the threat from foreign terrorist fighters.

Customs administrations wishing to know more about GTAS are invited to contact the WCO Secretariat at GTAS@wcoomd.org.