Uganda Revenue Authority engages to improve its Customs laboratory

18 April 2024

The World Customs Organization (WCO), under the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union, held a National Workshop on the modernisation of the Laboratory of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) from 9 to 12 April 2024.  The Workshop was attended by 20 Customs Officers, including Senior Management, from URA involved in Customs Laboratory and Harmonized System classification matters. The workshop is part of the technical support provided to URA to enhance its laboratory infrastructure and meet international standards in their efforts to establish a Regional Customs Laboratory.

During the opening of the Workshop, the Commissioners of Customs and of Tax Investigation thanked the representative from the WCO Secretariat for facilitating the discussions on the modernisation of URA’s Laboratory.  In their remarks, they referred to the importance of a well performing Laboratory for the correct collection of Customs duties and for the uniform classification of commodities in the national Customs tariff as well as for the protection of the society and environment.  The possibility of becoming in the future a WCO Regional Customs Laboratory was also discussed in detail.

Participants were informed of the structure and functions of several WCO Regional Customs Laboratories. The facilitator explained in detail the activities of the Customs Laboratory European Network (CLEN) and the possibilities that the instruments developed by CLEN might offer to the URA. Discussions focused on the WCO Customs Laboratory Guide, sampling procedures, security and safety issues, as well as laboratory information management systems (LIMS).

The workshop was also an opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge of the relevant technical standards with regard to the infrastructure, instruments and staff of a Customs laboratory as well as classification of chemicals in the HS. The activity included a visit of the expert to the existing facilities of the Sciences Laboratory of URA, a well performing standard laboratory serving not only Customs but also other units of URA.

In their closing remarks, Mr. Charles Katabi, Manager of the Laboratory and Mr. Julius Nwasire, on behalf of the Tax Investigation Commissioner, thanked the WCO and the European Union for the support and collaboration in this area of Customs work, and confirmed their Administration’s interest in becoming part of the WCO Regional Customs Laboratories programme.

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