National Chamber to ease Certificates of Origin processing
June 6—Plans for the electronic processing of Certificates of Origin (COs) by the Uganda National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) are at an advanced stage and will complement what is already being done by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Basically, COs confirm the origins of a specific item for export and are compulsory in international trade. Martin Okumu, the Head of Communications at the Chamber and the signatory for the COs, said they are working hard to make sure that they start offering electronic certificates like URA so that exporters can save time and money spent on traveling to their offices.
According to Jenipher Timbitwire, the Assistant Accountant, the Chamber issues over 300 Certificates of Origin every month to over 79 exporting companies and individuals. UNCCI is mandated by the government to issue COs to exporters who are selling goods outside the East African Community.
“Although we do not know a specific time when we will launch the electronic process of acquiring the certificates, we are working tirelessly to make sure that this is done soon,” he said.
Okumu said, “Uganda Revenue Authority, which is authorized to issues the preferential certificates of origin for traders who are exporting within East African countries, has already shifted from the manual certificates to electronic ones. The results are tremendous. We look forward to also borrowing the knowledge so that we can also apply it here.”
According to the International Chamber of Commerce (IWC), electronic Certificates of Origin (eCO) systems include safeguard measures, such as online verification of the authenticity of CO and optical watermarking technology.
They also offer electronic application, in addition to issuance, complete with digital rubber stamps of the chamber and signatures of authorized officials. The IWC says eCO systems ensure a greater level of transparency, reduce costs and save time among customs administrations, exporters, importers, banks and stakeholders.