GATUNA - A joint Uganda/Rwanda 24-hour One-Stop border point and simplified trade regime was launched Friday at Gatuna.
The service will seee Ugandan and Rwandan customs officials share the same office building and scanning equipment to reduce costs of operations.
Robert Ssali, Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community Affairs said that the measure would promote and accelerate business transactions within member-states of the East African Community (EAC).
“The one stop border point shall benefit the private sector, by providing quality and quick service delivery of goods and services across EAC,” said Ssali.
He urged officials of both Rwanda Revenue Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority at Gatuna border to work hand-in-hand, by delivering efficient services to the business community engaged in cross border trade.
“You should strive to serve members of the private sector with honesty and desist from all forms of corrupt tendencies,” advised Ssali.
On his part, Uganda’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, said the 24-hour border point was a big achievement for EAC and economic cooperation between Rwanda and Uganda.
“We are here to work with you closely to strengthen the good cooperation between our sister-countries,” he said.
“The office buildings and scanners jointly used by Uganda and Rwandan customs officials at Gatuna shall greatly reduce the costs of providing cargo clearance between the two sister countries”.
RRA Deputy Commissioner General, Eugene Torero, called on cross-border traders to utilize the new service to boost their businesses.
“Traders will be able to clear their goods within five minutes, unlike in the past where traders would spend a minimum of 30 minutes to have their goods cleared,” Torero said.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner of Customs, Peter Malinga, said the new one-stop border point service, where information and data exchange is jointly carried out by Ugandan and Rwandan Customs officers shall reduce congestion of traders at the border.
“We want to ensure there is reduction in the cost of doing business among EAC member states,” Malinga said.
Also present was Gicumbi District Mayor, Bonane Nyangezi, and representatives of the Ugandan and Rwandan Private Sectors.