The Busia County Security team in collaboration with officers working at Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) have expressed commitment to increase revenue collection at the border facility.
Busia Customs Manager Joakim Mwawasi said that they have been successful in revenue collection in the past years but can do much better.
“In 2012, we collected around Sh414 million, 2016 /17, Sh1.4 billion, 2019/20, 3.1 billion 21/22, 4.7 billion,” he said adding that the collection can be increased to around Sh. 6 billion by the end of this financial year if leakages are sealed.
Mwawasi stated that most of the revenue is lost through smuggling which is carried out through ungazetted routes.
“When this happens, taxes are not paid and rules and regulations regarding safety are not done,” he said, adding that this leads to loss of revenue.
He further explained that if goods pass through illegal routes, then trade statistics will also be wrong.
“Importation that passes through designated routes goes to the systems of the border agencies and this forms part of the country’s trade statistics which helps the government in making decision regarding what should be imported or not,” he said.
The Manager added that goods that pass through ungazetted routes lead to unhealthy competition among traders.
The official at the same time blamed proliferation of illegal arms used by terrorist groups on the use of the porous border.
“We also have counterfeit goods accessing the markets and unsafe foodstuffs because they are not tested,” he said, adding that the lives of plants and animals are also endangered.
Mwawasi stated that the war against smuggling has been ongoing and several cases have been taken to court.
“The challenge that we have is that our efforts are disjointed,” he said, adding there is need for a unified approach in addressing the issue.
He at the same time said that there is a need for information sharing by the relevant stakeholders through joint operation and information sharing.
Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto said that the team should be proactive in addressing avenues of tax leakages and illicit trade.
“Revenue collection is key to the country’s economic development,” he said, adding that there are so many activities at the border.
Ruto added that security officers should exercise integrity as they serve residents and at no time should they aid illegal activities.
“Some of these illegal goods pass through the official gates or the porous border before being loaded into Lorries and ferried to other areas,” he said.
The forum brought together officers working at the One Stop Border Post, County Security team and a section of County Government officers to discuss modalities of sealing revenue leakages along the border county.
By Salome Alwanda