By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - On Monday, 11 May 2020, a team from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) was hosted on NBS TV, and they explained to the nation how they are keeping track of the truck drivers who are causing panic in the country due to the fact that the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country have been found in them.
Mr Vincent Seruma, the Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs at URA explained that the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) is used to track the movement of the trucks from the respective ports like Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, through the said countries and the borders of Uganda.
The same is done for those that continue their journey through Uganda on to DRC, South Sudan and Rwanda.
The RECTS monitors the speed of the track, its stop-overs all in real-time and this is done by the help of an electronic seal that is implanted into the truck. A serial number is then attached to a particular truck for easy tracking.
Transit alerts happen in real-time and these are monitored remotely at the URA headquarters in Nakawa where two monitoring stations have already been set up.
"There are two stopover points in the country for the truck drivers, and these are at Namboole and Kyetume," Seruma said.
According to URA officials, "In order to minimize person to person contact between truck drivers and the border immigration personnel, the contents of the trucks are scanned and the data is sent to one of the monitoring stations. Here, the exact contents of a particular consignment are cross-checked with what the client declared."
Apparently, several have been found to be different and the clients were fined on top of the taxes they were supposed to pay.
Seruma says that in conjunction with the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Health, the truck drivers are tracked, tested as soon as they reach the border and the results published all in real-time.
One incident of a truck driver who was bound for South Sudan and later found positive, the RECTS system managed to track his movements and he was taken into quarantine before he interacted with many people.
This incident was explained to the Minister of Trade, Amelia Kyambadde and the Minister of Works, Gen. Katumba Wamala on their visit to the authority as they had gone to learn how the system works in April. Several others have been found in this way to date.
When asked by NBS news anchor, Simon Kaggwa Njala on how they deal with cases where the network is sketchy, Seruma said, "Yes, there are blackouts in the network but after they get back on the system, their past movements can still be seen and so it is still possible to keep track of all movements made by the truck drivers."
This is reassuring information to the KIU community and the general public that at least, the truck drivers are being monitored throughout their commute, and may not pose much of a threat as had been feared by a wide section of the public.
Photo Credit: URA