WCO and Uganda Revenue Authority launch Global Travel Assessment System GTAS pilot

01 December 2017

The WCO was invited by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from October 23-26 to visit the National Targeting Centre in Kampala, and visit the Customs passenger processing facilities at Entebbe International Airport.  With support from US Customs and Border Protection, the team met with various officials from both Customs and industry to experience and understand the business need  in deploying a passenger risk management tool  for both facilitation and enforcement.  Then, with approval from URA Commissioner Dicksons C. Kateshumbwa, the team launched the first pilot of the ‘Global Travel Assessment System’, or more commonly known as ‘GTAS’ , for URA Customs officers to use.  Officers were able to begin to create risk rules, enter targets and conduct targeting activities immediately.  The successful launch of the pilot version of GTAS now allows URA Customs officers to import pre-arrival data from airlines, create risk rules, and create cases for further review. 

As part of the WCO Security Programme, the Passenger Controls  Initiative includes an enhanced focus on assisting Customs administrations to utilize Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) as part of their passenger risk assessment process.  In addition, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) calls on member states to focus their attention around the ‘foreign terrorist fighter’ phenomenon and to prevent the movement of high risk individuals to and from conflict areas.

To assist member states in implementing a passenger risk system of their own, the WCO has offered assistance  through the provision of risk assessment software called GTAS.  GTAS software is available free of charge to any member administration.   Using an automated system, such as GTAS, allows Customs administrations to use passenger data in advance of  flight arrival to pre-determine if there is risk potentially arriving at the border. Passenger targeting using API/PNR is an effective way to identify, intercept and interdict high risk passengers that pose a risk at our borders.  

Uganda is the first country in the world to launch a GTAS pilot.