CYANIKA - Business operators have commended the addition of working hours at the Cyanika border post in the Northern Province, saying it is a good initiative that would not only facilitate people’s movement, but also augment their income.
Beginning next month, the border post, that is shared with Uganda, will be open for 14 hours, and eventually increasing to 16 by March next year. It is now operational for 12 hours.
The decision was reached between Rwandan immigration Chief Anaclet Kalibata and his Ugandan counterpart, Sasagah Godfrey Wanzira, during a meeting held in Kampala, Uganda, on Tuesday this week.
Unlike the 24-hour Gatuna border post, Cyanika has been distressing transporters who have been compelled to wait until the post is open in the morning.
According to the resolutions of the meeting, Rwanda will open the border at 5:00am and close at 8:00pm; Rwandan time, while Uganda shall open its border at 6:00am and close at 9:00 am; Ugandan time.
Previously, the border posts opened at 6:00am and 7:00am, Rwandan and Ugandan time, respectively.
“It’s good news to us. We used to park for many hours waiting for the border to open and ended up incurring costs in terms of lodges and meals. The extension therefore will impact positively on our businesses,” commented Abdul Ndarubogoye, a transporter.
He urged authorities to make the border post operational for 24 hours to facilitate free movement of people and goods to Uganda.
According to the EAC Treaty, the protocol provides for the free movement of goods, persons, labour, services, capital and the right of residence, meaning that all border posts among member countries must be open 24 hours.
Theodore Murenzi, the Secretary General of Rwanda Truckers Association, welcomed the move.
“As traders, our main objective is to make money. Therefore, when the border is open for more hours, it’s big opportunity for us in many aspects,” he said.
Ronald Nkusi, a legal officer at the Immigration’s Office who attended the meeting, pointed out that though the border will be open for 14 hours, there are plans to open it for 24 hours. He however pointed out that it would be implemented gradually.
During the meeting, both countries agreed to cooperate on matters of cross-border crime management, information exchange and border management as agreed in the initial meeting held in Kigali in April 2008.
The meeting also resolved that Uganda will reciprocate on waiving work permit fees on Rwandans after consultations with stakeholders and conducting of a cost-benefit analysis.