PUBLISHED ON February 20th, 2015

Lack of access road may derail impact of one-stop border post

Kampala/ Malaba- Seven years after the plan was first made public, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has finally taken charge of the Malaba one-stop border post, a facility expected to speed up clearance of Uganda-bound cargo and goods transiting through the country.
Despite the usefulness of the Shs15.8 billion facility, which includes, among others, enhancing regional trade and partly reducing the cost of doing business in the country, senior government engineers say without the access road connecting Uganda and Kenya border points, the initiative will in a long run prove useless.

The nearly 3km access road joins the Kenyan to the Ugandan sides of the border posts, where trucks will be quickly cleared.

“These facilities (one stop border posts) cannot operate without a road network. The road component is part of the design but it was omitted during implementation due to insufficient funds on the credit,” the project coordinator, Mr Benon Kajuna, said during the handover ceremony in Malaba on Wednesday.

He continued: “The estimated cost is Shs11 billion for Malaba and Shs4 billion for Busia access roads. We have been in discussion with Uganda National Roads Authority and ministry of Finance but funding is yet to be approved.”

In an interview with the URA commissioner for Customs, Mr Richard Kamajugo, it emerged that this is a short term challenge.

He said: “We are aware about the challenges we are likely to face but we will work around it as funding to work on access roads is being finalised.”

He continued: “Considering where we are coming from, this is a hurdle that we are determining to go through. And it will not derail our efforts to multiply the number of clearance and improve trade in general terms.”

In a day, Mr Kamajugo said about 1,400 cargo trucks are cleared through Malaba while nearly 500 are cleared through Busia border points with about three quarters of the clearance being fuel imports.

In his speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Alex Okello, whose ministry oversaw the construction of the facility, said he will ensure that the access road that will facilitate quick exits and clearance is constructed as soon as possible.

He said: “We will find the money to construct the access road because we know how important it is for success of these facilities (border points). We are discussing this issue and there is indication that we will get this money faster than we thought.”

The World Bank senior highway engineer, Mr Solomon Muhuthu Waithaka, said construction of the access road is part of the government of Uganda contribution into the project.

Source: Daily Monitor

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