Y2K Uganda Africa

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URA Disowns Y2k Glitches New Vision (Kampala) January 22, 2000 By Simon Kaheru

Kampala - Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has disclaimed responsibility for the computer breakdown at the Nakawa Inland Port at the start of the year URA spokesman, Odrek Rwaboogo, said Monday, the revenue body had detected a possible hitch in the computer system when they took over the facility last year, but found it was too late to do anything about it.

The computer billing system stopped working because of suspected Y2K (Year 2000) complications.

All five computers in the department were down when employees reported back to office Monday January 3 after the New Year's holiday break. Recent reports from the Kampala port say the computer system packed up at the start of the year, and staff there now rely on manual entries into ledger books to bill customers.

"We own this port but we only got it on December 7 from the Privatisation Unit. When we took over we found they did not have adequate hardware or software. We went in and found it was too late to change," Rwaboogo said.

"It was not a mission critical to URA and it has had no effect on revenue collections. So the manual back-up system was put in place and it is working as perfectly as, if not better than, the computers," he added. The billing programme was configured specially for Transocean to calculate demurrage costs charged to importers based on how long goods containers and vehicles had stayed within the port.

The port, formerly the government-owned Transocean clearing company, was being managed by DMER consultants, a private company. Nakawa handles between sh80m and sh100m a month in revenue collections.

At its peak, before other local inland container depots (ICD's) were opened, revenue officials say the port handled as much as sh15m each day. "The core operations of URA are perfectly alright.

We passed the Y2k test two years ago and we have been carefully checking from time to time. The good thing is that this port constitutes only a small part of the entire operations," Rwaboogo said.

The DMER general manager also Uganda Grain Milling boss Damas Mulagwe said last week the breakdown happened before the new year begun and that it wa not confirmed as a system crash. He said the port hand over was still in transition.

"URA was informed of the and they inspected, but found only one computer was not working," he said.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), January 27, 2000

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