9 February 2016

East Africa: Gatuna One-Stop Border Post Construction Begins

Construction of one-stop border post (OSBP) facility at Gatuna border with Uganda has has started and will be completed in July, according to officials.

This was announced by Guy Kalisa, director-general of Rwanda Transport Development Agency, who said the $7 million (about Rwf5 billion) project is jointly funded by the World Bank and the Government of Rwanda.

"The Gatuna facility will be the fifth in the country and will improve operations at the border," Kalisa told The New Times.

The already completed one-stop border posts are Rusumo, Ruha, Nemba and Kagitumba.

Kalisa said Rubavu OSBP, which is also under construction, will be completed in September.

According to Ange Sebutege, the head of communication and customer care at the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, the new OSBP will speed up and improve services at the border.

OSBP facilities, introduced under the auspices of the East African Community, ease movement by bringing all border control services of two neighbouring countries under one roof, whether entering or exiting a country.

"The time people spend at the border will be reduced since they will be making only one stop," Sebutege said.

Besides easing the movement of people, one-stop border posts also facilitate trade.

Hannigton Namara, the country director of TradeMark East Africa, said one-stop border posts promote efficiency at the border by reducing the time it takes in such tasks as clearing goods.

"For the private sector, time is money. The longer time spent on the border, the more processes, the more costly it becomes. The whole concept of OSBP is designed around reduction of time and making it so easy to cross borders," Namara said.

He added that one-stop border posts create accountability on processes and social cohesion around the border.

"For example, our traders crossing into Uganda will not need to do anything on the Rwandan side, they will cross and do all the required processes at the entry point in Uganda and traders coming to Rwanda will do the same on the Rwandan side," Namara said.

One-stop border posts not only improve business environment in the region but also enhance integration, according to observers.

Nathan Gashaija, the director-general of coordination in the Ministry of EAC Affairs, said OSBPs reduce transit costs incurred in cross-border movement.

"Combining border activities of the two neighbouring countries at a single common location delivers economic benefits to the entire economic spectrum," Gashaija said.

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