IRA UGANDA: All imports into the country to be insured by a locally licensed insurance company


It is not uncommon in our land for things to stop at promise and policy level without real on-ground implementation. This trend has given rise to a doubt-over-faith mentality. It is therefore going to take a considerable streak of successful implementations to turn the distrust into confidence.

On that note, going by the numerous developments, the implementation of the Marine Cargo Insurance directive seems to be the much-needed ray of hope that maybe, we should start believing more and doubting less.

To best understand why the media is abuzz with talk of Marine Cargo Insurance, you need to know that the Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development issued a directive requiring all imports into the country to be insured by a locally licensed insurance company.

This is where Marine Cargo Insurance becomes the center of conversation. This also means that the insurance sector regulator – The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) and the Uganda Insurers Association (UIA) – the body that represents all local insurance companies, form an integral part of this conversation. And since the directive also has a direct bearing on clearance of incoming goods, the tax body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) cannot be extricated from the narrative.

For emphasis on the implementation, Mr. Steven Kaddu – Manager of Inspection, IRA noted that every importer must obtain local Marine Cargo Insurance for their goods.

The requirement is plain and simple: if you have any cargo coming into the country, you must have local Marine Cargo Insurance for it. While enforcement is crucial, it is easier if wide-spread awareness is achieved. This role has been ably taken on by The Uganda Insurers Association (UIA) led by their Chief Executive Officer – Mr. Jonan Kisakye.

They have taken on the mantle to educate the masses on why every importer needs Marine Cargo Insurance – “We want to ensure that the masses are well-educated about Marine Cargo Insurance so that they appreciate that it is for their own benefit.”

He added that while the directive is in place, goodwill of the affected public is crucial.

“Every importer needs to know that we have their best interests at heart and that having Marine Cargo Insurance directly protects them against damages and loss that may occur to their goods from the country of origin to the final destination,” Kisakye said.

He adds that it is upon this background that the “Secure the goods – Nyweza Emmaali” campaign was birthed by the Uganda Insurers Association.

From the tax body’s perspective, Mr. Abel Kagumire – URA’s Commissioner Customs explained that with this directive, the goods clearance process will remain as is but effective 1st July 2022, all Marine Cargo Insurance will be procured locally from a licensed insurance company in Uganda.

“This intends to protect the Ugandan importers because it is easier to engage an insurance company in Uganda as opposed to one in another country when it comes to filing of claims,” Kagumire said.

He added that this is a huge step towards liberating millions of dollars that Ugandans have always paid to off-shore insurers without necessarily understanding the type of insurance obtained and the extent of coverage.

He went on to urge all importers and the business community to embrace this new initiative because it will safeguard local businesses against any damages/losses that may be incurred to their imports while on high seas through delivering easily accessible local solutions and protection.

In sharp contrast from policies that end up complicating the lives of the affected, IRA and UIA have taken steps to ensure that this actually makes the importer’s life simpler. They have set up the Marine Cargo Insurance Portal accessible via where one can conveniently attain Marine Cargo Insurance.

“The portal brings together all locally licensed insurance companies that offer Marine Cargo Insurance. It does not only ease the processing of the insurance cover on the part of the importer, it also ensures even distribution of the business to the local insurance companies. We are therefore hitting two birds with one stone: protecting the local importer and effectively promoting BUBU – Buy Uganda, Build Uganda,” says Mr. Kisakye.

From a lay man’s point of view, it is a no-brainer that this initiative is beneficial to the local importer but it also constitutes a leap for the local insurance sector in general.

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