28 March 2013

East Africa: EAC Border Stations Set to Ease Delays

Arusha — TANZANIA is going to be the first country in East and Central Africa to unveil the maiden 'One-Stop-Border-Station' which is expected to open shop at the Holili border crossing in Kilimanjaro region next May.

The Holili 'One-Stop-Border-Post,' premises have been constructed at the cost of US $ 4.5 million by the government but with funding from Trade-Mark East Africa (TMEA) which is also footing the bill of US $ 5 billion for a similar set-up on the Kenyan side of the border.

Both Holili and Taveta border post structures will cost US $ 10 billion upon completion. The former is ready for operation. The Director of Trade-Mark East Africa Mr Theo Lyimo revealed that a total of 24 'One-stop-border-stations' will be constructed all over the East African region along territorial boundaries where Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania border one another as well as in Tunduma where Tanzania borders Zambia.

"We at TMEA are funding the constructions of 13 such OSBPs, the remaining 11 will be built by the World Bank (WB), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)," stated Mr Lyimo.

Under 'One-Stop-Border-Posts', immigration, customs, health and bureau of standards departments for both countries will be housed under one roof and travellers, freighters and other people using the borders will have all the necessities addressed at a single station.

"Instead of the current arrangements where procedures entailing border crossings force travellers to undergo the checks twice; first at the country of departure and repeating the whole process in the arrival country, this time round it will be just once," said Mr Lyimo.

Once all OSBP around East Africa go into operation, the time spent at border posts connecting the five EAC member states will be cut down from two hours for ordinary travellers to about just 30 minutes. Cargo vehicles that are now forced to be delayed for up to three days at borders will in the OSBP future just spends three hours to be cleared.

A visit to the Holili township recently, revealed the already completed 'One-Stop-Border Post' station buildings on the Tanzanian side of the territorial boundary, while similar structures on the Kenyan side of the border at Taveta are still on their primary stages of construction.

The OSBP at Holili will also include a fully fitted medical centre to serve travellers, restrooms, full public internet connections via Wi-Fi, sanitation facilities as well as special departments to cater for small and medium scale traders who transact across the borders

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