Revenue collection has grown up to 42% as business at Katuna border steadily improves ever since Rwanda lifted travel restrictions on Rwandan Nationals to cross into Uganda
Katuna border businesses had been stagnant for about four years following closer with Uganda on February 27, 2019.
At the time, Rwandan president Paul Kagame accused Uganda of spying on Rwanda, abducting Rwandan citizens locking them in none designated areas, as well as hosting and facilitating dissents .
Rwanda then issued an advisory to it’s nationals against traveling to Uganda,saying their safety was not guaranteed.
After close to three years of no business at the border,Rwanda re-opened on January,31, 2022 and since then some of the businesses that had collapsed at the border started operating.
However whereas the Katuna boarder was reopened,Rwandan Nationals crossing to Uganda were asked to each pay a shs5000 which was meant for a Covid PCR test which was a challenge to many of them.
In addition, Rwandan nationals especially the small scale businessmen were stopped from buying food items and other essentials from Ugandan markets.
However, in June last year, Rwandan Nationals were allowed to cross freely into Uganda to trade into Ugandan markets.
Our reporter visited Katuna border where she noticed free movement of Rwandan Nationals crossing to Uganda freely to shop from Ugandan markets which has seen an improvement in revenue on the Ugandan side.
In a phone interview,Edrine.M.Mutebi, the acting assistant commissioner in charge of public and corporate affairs at Uganda Revenue Authority said that ever since the closer of Katuna border in February 2019 and reopening in January 2022 , there has been improvement in revenue collection.
He highlighted that by the time the border closed, revenue collection was above shs1 billion , adding that when the border was reopened in 2022, over shs2.7 billion was collected which he said indicated that there was revenue that was lost because of the closer.
He further added that by last year , they managed to raise shs3.8 billion which represented an increment of 42% , noting that it’s an indication of how strategic the border post is, especially to countries that use it.
Mutebi said the figures also indicate the impact of close cooperation between the two countries in terms of trade, adding that the future is bright.
According to Christmas Byarugaba, the town clerk for Katuna town council , they used to collect little in form of taxes following the closure of the border, adding that ever since the Rwandan Nationals were allowed to freely do trade in Ugandan markets,the local revenue has risen .
He added that they are convinced that by the end of this year, they will collect more than they used to.
Byarugaba further highlighted that seeing Rwandan Nationals buying much of the posho from the Ugandan markets is a great achievement since posho is one of the commodities sold in the Ugandan markets.
According to Ugandan traders,Ainemani Bosco and Karagwa Julius trade has greatly improved since Rwandan nationals were allowed to come to Ugandan markets.
The traders are hopeful that in case the situation remains like this,business will continue to boom.
Read original article
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.