Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has issued new guidelines and directives regarding passenger clearance at the Entebbe airport to help combat corruption and other forms of extortion the airport has come to be known for over the years.
Having recently faced media scrutiny for the countless corruption allegations and illegal activities that have made the passenger experience at Entebbe airport a nightmare, URA has decided to take new steps that will help combat corruption and hopefully protect travellers.
According to reports, any new passenger arriving in the Banana Republic, upon collection of his or her personal baggage, will either be cleared through the green channel where one has nothing to declare to customs or the red channel for passengers with dutiable or restricted goods.
Passengers with nothing to declare to customs (URA) are those who have goods for personal use not exceeding the value of $500 (about sh1.8m). However, the passenger is advised to have an authentic receipt confirming the value that corresponds with the items so as to make the process shift.
The new rules also further stated that passengers with goods whose value exceeds $2,000 approximately Shs 7 million will be required to check in with a clearing agent which will be done through the cargo terminal. Passengers who come into the country with money in excess of $10,000 close to Shs 360 million are advised to report to customs and declare the money in their possession.
Will the new URE directive combat corruption at the Entebbe airport?
Given the recent public outcry where Ugandan citizens took to social media to expose the ongoing corruption and illegal activities at the airport that have left many bitter and angry about how they are treated leaving them with no choice but to succumb to the bribes and different forms of extortion.
Many travellers faced extortion and sometimes even missed their flights due to harsh treatment and greed by airport staff. Others reported the staff for using intimidation tactics and other unprofessional acts which made their travel experience daunting and terrible.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority released a statement distancing itself from the acts of some of its staff members and promised to take action.
“We have noted various trending social media videos highlighting cases of alleged extortion of money from passengers through the Entebbe International Airport. Uganda Civil Authority does not condone such acts, and where such acts have happened, it is highly regrettable and unacceptable,” the statement read in part.
It further read: “We would like to assure the public that previously reported cases with specific details have been thoroughly investigated, and where the staff of various agencies operating at the airport were found culpable, serious disciplinary action was taken including termination of contracts and withdrawal of airport access passes from them.”
Whether the new rules will help bring an end to the corruption and ensure passengers are treated with dignity and respect is yet to be seen not forgetting that corruption is one of Uganda’s major problems that affect various sectors of the country both within the private and public sector.
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Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.
He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about technology and web.