President Yoweri Museveni has said there is need for East African Community countries to find better ways of monitoring Lake Victoria and other borders to prevent smugglers.
Museveni said that currently, Uganda and its neighboring countries are using ordinary means like physical inspection which are not up to the stand and cannot completely stop wrongful people from smuggling unauthorized goods.
Museveni added that there is need to install scanners at major land borders to detect hidden smuggled goods.
“We need to find more dependable means of protecting our borders. We cannot depend on police officers who are sometimes looking for kintu kidogo — bribe. We are already in talks to put in place a modern monitoring system at Lake Victoria and scanners at the land borders so that people do not smuggle in goods that are not allowed,” Museveni said.
The president was speaking at the official commissioning of the Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) between Kenya and Uganda.
The president was joined by his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top government officials from both countries.
Busia OSBP is the second busiest entry point and the most efficient of the 13 OSBPs that are facilitating trade between EAC countries.
The Busia OSBP handles transit traffic to and from the great lakes region of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
It is one of the OSBPs working under the Coordinated Border Management (CBM) that is facilitated by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with support from the UK government and other partners that facilitate border trade between EAC countries which include Malaba-Busia, Mutukula, Mirama Hills/Kagitumba, Cyanika, Katuna/Gatuna with future plans for others OSBPs at borders with DRC and South Sudan.
According to the CEO of TMEA, Frank Matsaert, the construction of the Busia OSBP which was launched in 2012 was carried out with funding of US $11.7m from the UK government through DFID and an $1.2m from the government of Canada for systems and related software infrastructure.
“This is one of the best performing OSBP and we are pleased of the difference it has made in border trading. We have seen an increase in cross border trade, the time and Monet spent by traders in customs clearing has also reduced by 70% and customer satisfaction is at 80%. I want to thank the two governments for efforts put in to make this possible and we look forwards to working with them on other projects aimed at facilitating trade,” Matsaert said.
According to the minister for trade Amelia Kyambadde, since the Busia OSBP became operational in 2015/2016, Uganda has realized the following benefits:
1.Revenue collection has grown by 45% at Busia Border from Shs.436.3billion in FY 2013/2014 to 798.5 billion in FY.2016/2017 due to faster turnaround times with fuel imports contributing 90% of the total tax revenue collected.
- Increased cross border traffic of persons and goods to an average of 23 buses and 230 trucks.
- 56% growth in value of exports through Busia OSBP with top exports being grains.
4 average clearance time reduced from 3 days to 2 hours, improved cooperation between border agencies.
- improved facilitation of cross border traders with the establishment of a criss border trade information desk and hosting cross border trade associations.