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DR Congo and Uganda security officials meet over cross-border smuggling

NEBBI- Ugandan security officials in Nebbi district and their counterparts from DR-Congo’s Mahagi Territory, in Eastern Ituri Province met on Tuesday to discuss the rise in the smuggling of goods between the countries that belong to the East African Community [EAC], with DR Congo having officially joined the seven-member bloc this year.

The officials noted that smugglers use uncontrolled entry points to engage in the illegal trade where the smugglers evade paying the required taxes.

According to the Military Administrator of DR Congo’s  Mahagi Ituri Province, Col. Disanoa Laula Jacques, both countries must work together to address the issue of smuggling if they are to earn more revenue from traded commodities.

“The cross-border smuggled goods are a timing bomb to our economies. If we don’t work together as a team, our economies will decline forever,” Lalua said.

Lalua noted that his country was losing much of the revenue to smuggling at the porous border points of Erussi, in Nebbi district, Awasi in Zombo district, and Oraba in Koboko, among others.

He called for collective monitoring of the various porous border points between the two countries, including boosting the capacity of customs agents to be able to trace smuggling activities at the illegal entry points.

The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Nebbi Robert Abak said the illegal entry routes fueling smuggling goods should be discussed at the national level.

Abak said the meeting held with the Congolese security leaders was important as it marked the beginning of how the two countries can together devise means of apprehending smugglers.

“We want to iron out all forms of criminalities which come in as a result of cross-border trade between Uganda and DR-Congo for the smooth business partnership,” Abak said.

During the West Nile investment Summit held in Nebbi district on April 9, 2022, the proprietor of Rock Global Oil Ltd Nebbi, Vincent Okaba said due to the smuggling of fuel from DR-Congo, his company was unable to earn a goos profit as consumers go for the cheap smuggled fuel.

“We paying huge taxes to the government but we hardly sell fuel in our patrol stations due to smuggled fuel from DR-Congo,” Okaba said, urging government to handle the matter as quickly as possible.

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