Despite the Sunday night announcement from the Government of Rwanda that trucks from Uganda can now enter her territory through Katuna, traders from Uganda are yet to use the crossing point.
Michael Seed, a clearing agent at Katuna border post says since Monday, they have cleared around 17 trucks from Uganda to Rwanda, all of which were in transit from other countries.
Michael says however, that they are still hoping that traffic will pick up, once traders understand the communication from Rwanda.
“Rwanda has not been allowing cargo from Uganda and this communication that was out does not clear our traders to conduct business. We have so far cleared trucks in transit and those from other countries heading to Rwanda,” said Seed.
Katuna Border town remains low in business will a handful of trucks making their way to and from Rwanda.
The border post had been closed since 28th February 2019. The incident has since led to souring relations between Uganda and Rwanda.
Following the border closure, Ugandan traders were advised to use the Kyanika and Kagitumba border posts to enter Rwanda.
Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Katuna town council mayor says locals will only be appreciative if the border opens fully and the transportation of goods and people stabilises like before.
“This partial opening is still lacking a lot. We need authorities from Rwanda to be clear on whether the border is free and if their residents can visit Uganda like before. What has been declared is not reliable enough for business to take place,” said Nshangabasheija.
Eric Sunday, the town clerk for Katuna Town Council says the crisis caused up to Shs 150million in losses to the council.
“We used to get a lot of local revenue from businesses that were operating around the town but since this crisis started, most of the businesses closed down and traders shifted reducing on our revenue capacity,” he said.
Peter Basiisi, a cargo driver from Mombasa however, says he was relieved by the opening of Katuna border.
“Going through Mirama hills has been quite expensive because it is a long distance. Imagine we would add even an extra cost on fuel through that route but with this development, there is a cause to smile,” he said.