Kampala — President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart, President Kaguta Museveni joined by Dr. Liberat Mfumukeko, East African Community Secretary General, have officially launched the Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) located on the Kenya/Uganda border.
The official commissioning of Busia OSBP paves way for speedy clearance of goods moving in the main trade corridor between Uganda and Kenya.
The Busia OSBP is part of the East African Community (EAC) regional initiative, implemented jointly with Kenya and Uganda, supported by development partners through Trademark East Africa, to the tune of Sh1 billion.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is the implementing authority of the OSBP project in Kenya, while Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) implements in Uganda.
The two have observed that the OSBP has brought about increased efficiency, interagency cooperation and improved coordination of all the border regulatory agencies.
The OSBP project has further smoothened partnerships with private sector through Joint Border Committees (JBCs) and the National Trade Facilitation Committees. The streamlining of activities has led to a reduction of the average border crossing time from over 72 hours to less than six hours.
At the OSBP, Kenyan and Ugandan officers share a roof, as they handle transit documents concurrently to save time. Other government agencies like the Bureau of Standards, Port Health, environment authorities, Immigration and Security are also present at the OSBPs quickening the clearance process.
Based on estimates of the value of time for trucking enterprises and for traders, the savings generated by the improvement of border crossing in East Africa represent approximately USD70 million per year. The Busia OSBP, for instance, collected approximately KSh1.4 billion for Kenya in the 2016/17 financial year, recording a growth of 47 per cent since its inception.
Further, the OSBP, supported by other trade facilitation initiatives such as the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTs) and the Single Customs Territory (SCT), has decongested border posts and encouraged compliance by traders, including the small-scale cross-border traders.
Other benefits of the OSBPs include improved security, reduced revenue leakage, as well as improved resource utilization through improved cross-border cooperation and sharing of resources and intelligence.
Regionally, OSBPs are mandated by the East Africa Community One-Stop Border Post Act, 2016 and the various bilateral agreements signed between adjoining states. The Act is now augmented by the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force in February 2017.
The Busia crossing point is among the 13 border posts in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania that have been converted from 'two-stop' border posts into single premises entity or OSBPs to facilitate movement of people and goods across the East African Community.