The Minister of East African Community Affairs, Monique Mukaruriza, has expressed concern over the time spent clearing goods at border posts, arguing that the ‘One-Stop border’ for customs services would save travellers time.
Mukaruriza made the remarks, Thursday, during her visit to the Rwanda-Uganda border at Gatuna.
The visit which was part of the ministry’s sensitisation week, was aimed at assessing the implementation of EAC customs protocols.
The minister noted the integration is on course because customs services are improving at the border posts. She however added that traders still spend much time clearing goods on both sides of the border.
“There is need to save travellers’ time spent on clearing goods. We want to see a traveller spending the shortest time possible at the border points so as to eliminate some of the non-tariff barriers,” she said.
According to the Minister, a person clearing goods from both sides of the border wastes a lot of time.
To ease the movement of people travelling with goods, the ministry seeks to build a One-Stop border post where both Uganda and Rwanda customs officials will operate from.
According to Paul Muhire, a customs officer, over 1,000 travellers use Gatuna border daily observing that the integration has boosted cross-border trade.
Speaking to The New Times, some of the travellers said the services at border posts have improved, most of them citing 24 hour operations as something to appreciate.
“On the Rwandan side, there is no problem at all. Within 30 to 40 minutes, you are cleared and this is unbelievable compared to the Kenyan and Uganda border points where corruption is still rampant,” said Daniel Chalo, a Kenyan truck driver.
On the persisting non-tariff barriers, Mukaruriza said a regional monitoring committee has been set up to collect information about them for remedy.
“The move requires political will to eliminate these barriers,” she said.