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Kenyatta urges regional cooperation to compete with China

President Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya cut a ribbon during the commissioning of OSBP at Busia

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged Ugandans and Kenyans to create wealth and prosperity by utilizing the new Busia one-stop border post (OSBP) between the two countries.

Kenyatta believes it is only through regional corporation by allowing free movement of goods and persons that the East African Community can compete with the likes of China and India.

He said this at the weekend as he joined his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni to launch the $13m facility constructed by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

“Why should someone from Uganda need a passport to be in Kenya and those who commit crimes in Kenya we should be able to track them to Kampala rather than stop at the borders of Kenya,” Kenyatta said.

Under the new arrangement, government agencies of the two countries will operate under one building to hasten clearance of goods and people.

For instance, revenue authorities and immigration officers from Kenya and Uganda will jointly clear imports and exports under one roof, instead of clearing in both immigration points in Kenya and Uganda.

Frank Matsaert, the chief executive officer of TMEA, said the facility was constructed with funds from United Kingdom and the Canadian government.

TMEA is a not-for-profit Aid for trade organization supported by seven foreign governments with the objective of growing the prosperity of East African trade.

“The post has reduced transportation time and clearance by saving one third of the current time, about 90 per cent of the traders that previously used unofficial routes are now trading through OSBP” Matsaert said.

He added that given the size and importance of informal cross-border trade, agency authorities, with support from the TMEA Women in Trade programme, established training and information interventions to help traders’ better access regulations, protocols and market information.

President Museveni said EAC trade will only develop and cause economic prosperity if trade is enhanced using modern technologies.

“TradeMark has done a good job to modernize the border, before such developments, there was a lot of smuggling and delays; sometimes the delays caused the smuggling,” he said. “Now we need to have Lake Victoria Monitoring Plan so that we have ‘eyes’ on the lake.”

URA collections increase

According to URA, the Busia OSBP is the second-busiest entry point in Uganda. Approximately 200kms from Kampala, the border handles transit goods in the great lakes region in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, DRC and South Sudan.

Dickson Kateshumbwa, URA's commissioner for customs, said revenue collection has grown by 45 per cent at Busia OSBP from Shs 436.2bn in 2013/14 to Shs 798.4bn in 2016/17 due to faster turnaround times, with fuel imports contributing an average of 90 per cent of the revenue collected during the period.

Kateshumbwa also added that there was increased daily cross-border traffic of persons to an average of 23 buses or 800 passengers entering and leaving the country and 320 trucks of which 90 are fuel tankers, 140 are imports of general goods and 85 carrying export goods.

"There is improved clearance time from three days to two hours, barrier gate clearance time has reduced from about 30 minutes per truck to 20 minutes daily,” he noted.

The Busia OSPB is one of the 13 border posts that TMEA has implemented in the region, four in Uganda (Busia, Mutukula, Mirama Hills and Elegu), and three in Kenya (Busia, Taita Taveta). There are future plans for OSBPs at the borders of DRC and South Sudan.
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Comments

0 #1 Akot 2018-02-26 18:45
Good call Uhuru Kenyatta, but this can only be possible if the region has good rule in each country! While Kenyans have finally calmed down, they have not started real involvement in their country affaires to put things in real motion so that the next 5 years see real difference!

DRCongo-Rwanda-S.Sudan are under the same demons who won't leave power, neither will they end wars caused by bad rule that engeneers tribal division & wars!

Burundi- never got through with real change & there is no sight of real start which means those who fled violence won't go back!

Uganda still have dictator museveni, +32 years still counting & without any hope of change, but suppression/oppression-land grabbing-looting...!

This leaves Kenya & Tanzania, the only ones who can start Nation building while they wait for the rest of regional countries to bring change of governance!
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