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Jams, smuggling costing gov’t billions- Parliamentary report

A section of the National Assembly’s Regional Integration committee members led by Farah Salah Yakub, conducted an inspection visit at Busia and Malaba One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) with an aim of establishing opportunities, gains and challenges in order to open up regional integration and trade.

After consultative engagement with KRA and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) officials in the office of Busia County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto who played host, the committee established that snarl-ups caused by trucks and smuggling are costing government billions from revenue pilferage.

“We have witnessed heavy traffic that need urgent intervention to ensure we maximize on revenue collection as well as supporting our traders to benefits more from expo and imports,” noted Farah the committee chair.

According to KRA officials, Busia OSBP generate Sh10 million revenue daily and has a target of over Sh 4 billion per FY, whereas Malaba OSBP which is the leading revenue contributor with over 15 million daily and has a target of over Sh 5.7 billion for FY.

“The committee sought to ascertain on possible measures that can be embraced to widen scope of trade which include use of smart gate, improved scanning machines and improvement of infrastructure to address heavy traffic witness at Busia and Malaba OSBP,” he added.

The County Commissioner later lead the committee to inspect 70 acres land where Sh. 2 billion modern market will be constructed by KRA and TMEA to expand business operations thus increasing revenue collection from Sh4 billion to Sh15billion as stated by KRA officials at the border.

“KRA will get 40 acre near Sofia side to construct ultra-modern market, and while TMEA 30 acres to set up Jumia market at Marachi estate to boost trade. The two markets will play a vital role in reducing smuggling activities which are rampant in Busia,” noted CC Ruto.

The committee is mandated to among other roles enhance the role and involvement of the House in intensification and development of the integration process in the East African Community and the greater African region.

Bomet East MP Richard Yegon urged the members to ensure that the report centre on infrastructure and modernization of custom clearing equipment to reduce time wasted and open flow of export and import trade.

“Despite billions this county generates to the government, infrastructure is still wanting, in fact it’s costing huge loses to the government. KENHA must move with speed to build dual carriage roads in Busia County to address snarl-up,” said Yegon.

The sentiment that were echoed by Beatrice Kemei County MP Kericho who challenged government to reduce a lot of bureaucracy at OSPB and make clearance process for exports at Mombasa and imports at OSBP to reduce duplication of duties and time wasted.

The committee will also tour Isebania OSBP and Lake Victoria Basin Commission before submitting its report to parliament for intervention.

By Absalom Namwalo

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