People, especially cross-border traders from Rwanda and Tanzania will go about their businesses uninterruptedly day and night, after the Rusumo One Stop Border Post began 24-hour operation for all days of the week.
Before the latest development that was announced by the two countries on Monday, the facility has been operating 16 hours a day, opening at 6am and closing at 11pm.
The around-the-clock operation move was agreed between both countries to ease and fasten cross border trade for traders plying their businesses across the two countries.
Speaking at the official launch of the border post full time operations, George Israel Mnyitafu, the Commissioner of Customs at Tanzania Revenue Authority, said the move will not only benefit both Tanzania and Rwanda but communities along the Northern and Central corridors.
“It is a privilege for both our countries to extend operating period to 24 hours and people should start to take advantage to this milestone to achieve the shared business goals through the cross border facilitation without taking risks passing through illegal porous crossings which increase smuggling incidence,” he said.
He added that the facilitation is not only meant to benefit Rwanda and Tanzania as the business activities operated at the border are also impacting neighbouring countries, mainly Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
He added, “It would be unfair to put all our efforts in this and none of the business people are benefiting from this facilitation, nor would our revenue entities benefit from it in terms of increased tax collection. What we all want is to continue working together to facilitate business people to ensure a significant rise of our countries’ economic growth. The more we are working 24 hours the more our revenues will increase”.
The full time operations is believed to create a conducive environment at both countries on exports and export, reduce clearance time at the border, increase fiscal compliance levels and reduce the cost of doing business on both sides.
Raphael Tugirumuremyi, the Commissioner of Customs at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), said the border post is going to eliminate traffic congestion to ensure fast business movement at the border, while people will no longer waste their time sleeping at the border post waiting for the opening hours to continue their business activities.
“There were many businesses that were affected by the limited period of operation but since people are allowed to do their business activities 24/7, trade volumes will significantly increase. We no longer need delays of our people’s business operations because time is money,” he said.
Elia Mapipa, a Tanzanian a commercial motorcyclist who ferries passengers between Ngara town on the Tanzanian side of the border and Rusumo town in Rwanda, said it is good news for the business community especially transporters as they will be able to conduct business throughout the day.
“I would refuse to take a passenger to Rwanda, fearing that on return in would find the border closed. But now I am going to work day and night to increase my revenues,” he said, adding that he was earning between TSH 20 000 (Rwf7500) and TSH50 000 (Frw18, 000) each day.
With the increase in hours, he said his daily income will significantly increase.
Rusumo One Stop Border recorded a traffic volume of 55,884 trucks in 2016- 17 (average 155 truck per day) while the clearance has reduced from four days before the border post started to operate to between half an hour to two hours in 2016-17.