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More one stop border posts to strengthen cross-border trade

The government is working on modalities to establish one stop border posts in all entry points to ease and promote trade and other mutual benefits with neighbouring countries.

State Department of East African Community (EAC) Principal Secretary (PS) Abdi Dubat said that currently the operational One Stop Border Posts include Taveta, Lungalunga, Namanga, Isebania, Busia, Malaba and Moyale.

Speaking in Nairobi on Monday when he took over from the immediate former EAC PS Dr. Kevit Desai, Dubat said that the operational one stop border posts have proved their worth by enhancing trade facilitation, promoting efficient movement of persons and goods and reducing the cost of doing business in the region and adjoining countries.

“We are working on ensuring that the one stop border posts continue being more efficient, more impactful and try to move a bit faster in guaranteeing that business across the East African partner states thrive and is beneficial for Kenya,” he said.

The PS explained that the whole purpose of having the EAC with a market population of 300 million people is for Kenyans and more so the business community to benefit significantly from the market regardless of its size be it Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs’), corporates and industries.

He said that the government has a transformative agenda for MSMEs’ and it revolves around empowering them to ensure that they grow bigger, more productive and efficient in the way they operate and that their products are of international quality so that they can easily access the EAC market.

The PS explained that the Kenya Kwanza government is keen on ensuring that there are significant surpluses in food production with the EAC being a target market for the surplus.

“The State Department for EAC will continue to venture into the region so that we create markets for our MSME’s and even the big industries so that they can thrive. There is no need of creating a huge market, putting up good systems which are efficiently integrated but as a country we are not taking full advantage of these opportunities,” said Dubat.

The outgoing PS Kevit Desai said that the government has been focused on ensuring that they build social relationships within the EAC in areas of health by ensuring that they promote centers of excellence within partner states by standardizing Universal Health Care (UHC) to ensure access and equity, standardizing the education system where scientists, doctors and high level degree holders, craftsmen and master craftsmen are able to freely travel and get jobs within the region which is the fourth largest market in the world consisting of over 300 million people.

Desai explained that there has been success over the past couple of years where immigration has doubled to seven million people within the context of the EAC and urged the youth to expand their scope of earning a livelihood.

“MSME’s are the key drivers of the EAC with over two million women involved in cross border trade and we have put in place measures to look into the business environment which includes policies, legislations and standards at the same time building the necessary infrastructure like constructing markets across borders which will greatly create transaction ability in an efficient way,” explained Desai.

He added that among the pending projects for the State Department are the operationalization of the eighth One Stop Border Post at Suam and putting up a proposed useful project of Jumuiya 10,000 capacity Open Air Market at Busia.

“The Busia market could be the Dubai of Kenya and such is the potential. So far, we have laid the plans, received the land and built the institution structures and the operationalization of the market will liberate the country towards greater levels of transformation,” said Desai.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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