Rwanda and Uganda began inception plans to construct a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at the Kagitumba-Mirama border to reduce delays in customs clearances and improve cross border trade.
Stakeholders from both countries met with TradeMark East Africa (TMEAC) in Kigali to negotiate the funding and implementation of the project.
Graham Johnson, a consultant with TMEAC said that the OSBP will improve inspection of goods by creating a single joint inspection in the country where goods are destined to be transported.
“Goods coming from DRC through Rwanda to Uganda will only face a joint inspection on the Ugandan side; as well, goods from Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda will only face inspection on the Rwandan side only. This will significantly reduce the time and cost of moving goods,” Johnson said.
He added that US$10 million (Rwf600m) was set aside for its construction, although funding may increase due to the need to reconstruct the bridge at the border.
“There is increasing regional trade yet the bridge at the Kagitumba-Murama border was not designed to handle the increasing traffic, which is in excess of sixty trucks crossing everyday,” Johnson said in an interview.
The Deputy Commissioner General and Commissioner for Customs Services at RRA, Richard Tusabe said that both the Ugandan and Rwandan authorities are committed to completing the project in order to facilitate regional economic integration.
“We have to get a specific timeline in which to complete this project. All stakeholders must get clear directions about their tasks to implement it in the best way possible so that we can unlock regional trade opportunities,” Tusabe addressed the stakeholders.
According to Triad Architects, a regional company that was contracted to formulate the architectural design of the post, it will take 24 months to complete its construction works, starting in June 2012.
Traders in the region are optimistic that the OSBP will improve time and cost effectiveness, a factor which continuously damages the region’s ability to competitively trade in the international market.
The Director of Trade and Policy Advocacy, PSF, Vincent Safari, said that although Rwanda tried to automate activities at the border, delays were still occurring.
“The ONBP is an important implementation for handling cargo and ensuring that traders decrease the time they spend at the border. Therefore, it has an impact and cost of doing business,” Safari said.