10 May 2017

East Africa: Elegu-Nimule One-Stop Border Project Stalls

Photo: Cissy Makumbi/Daily Monitor
Long process. Trucks loaded with goods queue up for clearance at the Elegu-Nimule border market recently. Construction of a one-stop border post has stalled due to lack of funds.

Kampala/Juba — The construction of a one-stop border post facilities at Elegu, which was expected to be handed over to the government in February, has stalled amid reports of funding dilemma.

The construction, funded by Trademark East Africa under the East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, commenced in 2012. The project total sum is $600,000 (about Shs2.2 billion).

However, the construction project has delayed due to circumstances caused by the government, according to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the agency overseeing the project's implementation.

The construction project was awarded to Seyani Brothers & Company Uganda Ltd.

"When the construction commenced, work moved on very well but time came when government was supposed to remit some money to the contractor, but that money delayed," URA's officer in-charge of customs enforcement, Mr Alfred Ocen, told this newspaper at the site on Thursday.

URA said when government delayed to release the funds to the contractor, the contractor ran out of money, causing the project to run late.

"We are waiting for government to send that money, once the money is sent, the work will resume," Mr Ocen added.

Once completed, URA is optimistic that the project will boost cross-border trade.

"So we shall be able to exercise proper control for whatever has entered here through that gate. Once you are inside here, we are able to clear you," Mr Ocen, explained.

The Elegu/Nimule border crossing is currently characterised by excessive documentation requirements, which involves multiple parties and different types of data elements with avoidable repetitions.

The project aim

The project is expected to reduce in the total average time it takes to clear cargo at the Elegu/Nimule border by 30 per cent. The funder said on its website that "it will in turn contribute to reducing transport costs and increase in intra-regional and foreign trade in East Africa."

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