The introduction of Busia One Stop Border Post has led to tremendous improvement in revenue collection since its inception in February 2018, Busia County Commissioner Jacob Narengo has said.
Speaking during the visit by the Ugandan Parliamentary committee on foreign Affairs at a hotel in Busia on Thursday, Narengo said that Kenya Revenue Authority collected Sh. 1.4 billion against its target Sh. 958 million during the 2016/2017 financial year.
He added that revenue collection for the 2017/2018 stood at Sh. 1.37 billion against the target of 1.25 billion.
The Commissioner pointed out that a survey carried out by the East African Community Secretariat and Trade Mark East Africa(TMEA) has revealed that time of clearing goods has gone down by an average of 76% against TMEA programme target of 30%.
‘The survey has further shown that clearance of pedestrians has been reduced from two hours to five minutes,’ he said.
The official added that there has been improved compliance and efficiency in clearance process due to sharing of data among government agencies through the single window system.
Narengo at the same time stated that joint operations and verification through the coordinated multi agency has greatly helped in the operations leading to more interceptions and seizures.
‘The improved processes such as faster clearance, better organisation , improved security, better facilities with simplified procedures at the OSBP has greatly influenced and facilitated small scale cross border trade and empowers more women to engage in trade,’ he said.
The official further said that OSBP operationalisation has made it possible for officers at the Port Health facility to screen 1600 travelers daily from the previous 400.
He however pointed out that standards and taxation regimes were still a major challenge adding that the adjoining states need to deliberate on harmonisation of the same.
Narengo at the same time said the two partner states should intensively carry out border patrols and sensitise the public on the need to use the formal border crossing for people and goods.
Ugandan Ambassador to Kenya Phoebe Otaala said there is need to harmonise operations of fishermen within the Lake to avoid claims of harassment by both sides.
Otaala stated that the Ugandan Executive is being tasked to address the issue of harassment of fishermen.
‘Concerning security within the Lake, Ugandan leaders are against maltreatment of fishermen both sides,’ she said adding that it is the responsibility of the fishermen from both sides to use the right fishing gears.
Participants at the forum stated that there was need for harmonisation of standards, taxation and education with a view to offer favourable competition among the EAC member states.
The forum brought together Busia County government Executives, Members of the County Assembly, Ugandan Ambassador to Kenya, Ugandan Parliamentary Committee Chairman for foreign affairs and committee members and Busia County Security team.
By Salome Alwanda