PUBLISHED ON August 7th, 2014


East Africa partner states are fast-tracking the setting up of one-stop border posts through bilateral agreements, though these require changes in national laws to allow sharing of Customs processes.

The lack of legal clarity on the matter has seen the Holili border post, which was recently completed, remain idle, even after Tanzania and Kenya agreed to sign a bilateral agreement. While Tanzania has approved the accord, the Ministry of East African Affairs said the Kenyan Cabinet is yet to approve it.

The East African Community Legislative Assembly passed the One-Stop Border Posts Bill in April 2013, but it has not been assented to by the Heads of State summit.

Theo Lyimo, a director at Trademark East Africa, who are the financiers of the project, said bilateral agreements will be used until domestic laws are changed and the Customs Union Management Act is in force.

Under the integrated border post, immigration and Customs officials from neighbouring EAC member countries share offices to ease the clearance procedures for travellers and goods.

For instance, people entering Kenya will bypass Tanzania Customs and immigration offices at Holili and proceed to Taveta where the officers will work side by side with their Kenyan counterparts.

Likewise, those entering Tanzania will bypass Taveta and stop only at Holili where officials of both countries will work side by side. The TanzaniaBurundi Customs posts at Kobero and Kabanga has already been merged and are being used as a pilot project.

“Experiences at Kabanga/Kobero will be used as lessons for other border points,” Faraja Mgwabati, a communication consultant at Tanzania’s EAC Ministry said.

A one-stop border post is also in operation along the Rwanda/Burundi frontier, while construction work is ongoing on the TanzaniaRwanda border at Rusumo. Work is scheduled to be completed in November.

Source URL: The East African

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