KAMPALA – Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has issued guidelines on handling of unmanned aerial vehicles popularly known as drones at the Entebbe International Airport.
Simon Esunget, the Ag. Manager Customs at Entebbe International Airport in a statement said the importation of drones into Uganda is subject to restrictions on security grounds, noting that any passenger or tourist arriving with such an item will undergo a vigorous security process.
“Upon arrival and upon detection of a drone in passenger-accompanied baggage at the scanners, the Aviation Police Officers (AVPOL) specialist in drone technology attached to the scanners at arrivals will confirm the drone and escort its owner to customs with the drone,” he said.
He said the customs officer will issue a deposit notice (F89) to the bearer/owner including a detailed briefing about the clearance procedure, which involves seeking authorisation from Uganda’s Chief of Defense Forces.
“Upon authorization, a letter from CDF is sent to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s Director of Safety, Security, and Economic Regulation, who then issues a letter of clearance to the owner. Upon obtaining the letters above, Customs will start the process of releasing the drone to the owner. If the drone is for a tourist and will be returned after use, temporary clearance from customs will be done in line with section 117 of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 as amended. The drone will be re-exported after use,” Mr. Esunget indicted.
Where the owner fails to obtain authorisation from CDF, Esungent said the owner will be allowed to re-export the drone back to the origin country.
If the drone is for permanent import by an individual, he said the owner will be charged import duty at 0% of the value, Value Added Tax at 18% of the Value, and Withholding Tax at 6% of the Value through a simplified process.
“If the drone is for use by a cooperate body like an organisation or a company, then the Simplified process will not be applicable; normal customs declaration using the TIN of the organisation or Company will be required. In this case, the services of the licensed customs clearing agent will be required”
“Where the drone remains unclaimed for more than two Months (60) days, the drones will be transferred from Entebbe to the Kampala customs warehouse for further management in line with the provisions of section 42 of the East African Community Customs management act 2004 as amended and may be disposed of as abandoned goods in the manner the commissioner deems fit,” the statement further indicated.
Since the start of the year, URA custom details indicate that up to 364 drones have been handled at Entebbe International Airport.
Only 7 drones have been cleared into the country after fulfilling importation requirements, 258 drones returned to the owners and exported back while 99 drones are currently in customs custody at Entebbe International Airport.