PUBLISHED ON April 13th, 2023

Kenya stalls the Sh2 billion EAC Busia Jumuiya market

Kenya’s delays in honouring its part of the deal to fund the Sh2 billion Jumuiya market has stalled the project that was billed to increase the volumes of cross-border trade in Busia.

The project, jointly funded by the government of Kenya and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) was to see the construction of retail, business hub and wholesale sections at the gateway into the East and Central African region.

While TMEA has already fulfilled its share of Sh500 million, the National Treasury is yet to dispatch Sh1.5 billion in order to realize the operationalization of the 10,000-capacity market.

“It is unfortunate that nothing has taken off six years down the line while the market on the Ugandan side is flourishing as little is taking place on our side,” Regional Integration Committee vice chair Farah Salah Yakub said.

He cautioned that the prolonged delay has led to the rise in the smuggling of substandard goods into the country through the Busia border point which is strategically located along the Northern Corridor.

The committee which conducted a fact-finding mission at the border point further noted that the ownership of the 40-acre piece of land identified at Marachi is yet to change hands.

“The state of the critical facility still lies in limbo while TMEA has put in Sh500 million as Kenya is yet to give the balance of Sh1.5 billion for it to take off,” said Mr Yakub.

He pointed out that trade on the Kenyan side is being hindered by a myriad of bureaucracies as well as taxation disparities within the two East African countries.

Noting that the completion of the project will help in solving the many challenges that have bedevilled the informal sector traders in Busia, Mr Yakub who led the delegation from the National Assembly said the committee will task-relevant authorities in order to solve the impasse.

“Among others, the institutions include the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya National Highways Authority and the Immigration department,” he said.

“We do not want to have a situation where people are forced to move from one office to the next to get cleared when all these services are supposed to be done at a single stop,” added Mr Yakub.

Jumuiya cross-border market targets to transform the lives of Busia County residents and neighbouring counties by providing a suitable environment to participate in cross-border trade under the EAC Common Market Protocol.

The committee also established that the poor management of the one-stop border point (OSBP) has led to delays and long queues of cargo trucks on the Kenyan side.

“Compared to the neighbouring countries, the OSBP on the Kenyan side is not moving due to infrastructural development, policies, and haphazard organizational skills among others,” he said.

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