The East African Court of Justice has ruled that Uganda violated the East African Community Treaty when it introduced excise duty on cigarette imports from East Africa.
The Ugandan government was particularly found to have breached both the Customs Union and Common Market protocols.
The court ruled yesterday that the decision by Uganda, through its tax authorities, to impose excise duty on cigarettes manufactured and imported from Kenya was in violation of the terms of the bloc’s integration.
The case had been filed by regional cigarette manufacturer, BAT.
By treating the cigarettes in question as imports as opposed to locally manufactured – as was the case prior to June 2017 – the products were attracting excise duty at high rates.
The court, which sits in Arusha, Tanzania, ruled that the re-classification and misconstruction as ‘imported goods”, contravened and infringed on Customs Union and Common Market protocols which allow for free movement of goods across the six EAC member countries.
The four-judge bench instructed that the Government of Uganda to ensure the interpretation and application of Excise Duty Act with due regard and in compliance with applicable Community Law and to align the Ugandan tax laws with Community Law applicable to goods from EAC Partner States.
Established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, East African Court of Justice is one of the EAC organs.
Source: The New Times