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Smart-gates: Solution to heavy traffics at Border posts

Development of Smart-gate in Busia and Malaba One Stop Border Post (OSBP) will be a great milestone towards economic growth and a pivot pillar in the fight against corruption at the gateway to East Africa.

This was revealed by the European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger when she paid a courtesy Call to Busia Governor Dr Paul Nyongesa Otuoma and the acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto at Busia OSBP.

The Ambassador urged both the national and the county government of Busia to deliberate on the best approach that will be geared towards economic development through increased Revenue collection from the current Sh10 billion a year to over Sh25 billion in the next FY.

“The EU has so far invested over sh45 million Euros at the Busia OSBP and a similar amount at Malaba in our move to ensure we digitize operations for greater efficiency thus reducing the time taken for clearance of goods and people,” noted the EU Ambassador.

“We are here to relaunch our trade relationship with the new administration both at the county and national government in a manner that will steer towards economic progress,” she added.

The EU delegations assured the governor of its commitment toward improving the infrastructure to help address the heavy traffic witnessed at the county at both Busia and Malaba border.

The sentiments were echoed by the Country Director of Trademark East Africa Ahmend Farrah, who noted that the development of the smart gate will make OSBPs at Busia and Malaba one stop border post efficient by reducing clearing time by almost 85%.

“Smart gate will reduce the clearing time taken by 85% hence making trade more effective at the gateway of East Africa. We will continue to engage with development partners to see how best we can actualise the digital clearing at all OSBPs in Kenya,” noted Ahmed.

Dr Otuoma applauded the infrastructural support the county has received from TMEA and EU urging them to reconsider dualing of the Busia and Malaba road to minimize traffic and foster interregional trade.

“Since the intersection of OSBPs, we have seen interregional trade development between countries within East Africa and beyond. Clearance time has reduced from 7 days back in 2011 to minutes currently,” noted Otuoma.

He said that it will take the effort of the county government, national government and partners to address the challenge being posed by the trucks.

“We urgently need to expand the five kilometres stretch from the border to Korinda in order to decongest the road and also facilitate proper planning for Busia town,” he said.

“This facility is an important link for ease of trade between our two countries. Uganda continues to be an important trading partner for Kenya. Opportunities for increased trade and investment have been created. I am happy to hear that because of this OSBP here in Busia, our revenue authority has been able to collect more revenue, a clear indication of increased trade flows,” he added.

According to Busia KRA Manager Joachim Mwawasi, East Africa costs of transporting goods are 60-70% higher compared to the US and Europe and 30% higher than Southern Africa. This is estimated to reduce GDP growth by around 1% annually, especially for landlocked countries.

High costs of crossing borders, excessive red-tape, corruption, and poor infrastructure are just some of the contributors to these costs. KRA has already secured over 40 acres of land at Sofia and Marachi estates to expand their operations.

“Efforts to stimulate intra-regional trade in Africa have traditionally focused on improvement of transportation of infrastructure such as construction of roads, rails, ports, power and ICT. Of equal importance to complement these initiatives is the extent to which the flow of goods and movement of people along the regional trade routes is facilitated,” said KRA Manager Joachim Mwawasi.

By Absalom Namwalo

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