11 March 2018

Tanzania: Unified Namanga Border Post Set for a Launch

Finally, the unified Namanga one stop border post will be officially launched on April 20th, this year.

Unveiling of the facility, to be jointly operated by Kenya and Tanzania, has been delayed due failure to install the electronic equipment in time.

Sources close to the East African Community (EAC) secretariat said preparation for the launch of one of the busiest border posts in the region were in high gear.

"The planned official launching of the Namanga OSBP will be on April 20th", an official of the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs department affirmed on the weekend.

The facility at Namanga is one of the dozen upgraded structures at the key border areas across the region.

OSBPs have been built to facilitate speedy movement of goods and people across the borders and hence improve revenue collection.

That will be achieved through lessening time in exiting one country and entering another. They will serve as catalysts in promoting cross-border trade.

Tanzania will have seven to eight other such jointly operated border facilities with her four neighbours in the bloc.

Besides Namanga, others are Holili, Horohoro and Sirali -all on the country's long border with Kenya and Mutukula on the boundary with Uganda.

Others are Rusumo on Tanzania/Rwanda border and Kabanga/Kobero border post to be shared by Tanzania and Burundi.

Another key border post is at Tarakea between Tanzania and Kenya but it is not clear if it falls under the OSBP programme.

Performance of the Namanga facility came under scrutiny recently during an on spot assessment by members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).

The Mutukula OSBP between Tanzania and Uganda was officially launched by presidents John Pombe Magufuli and his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni in November last year.

And slightly over two weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Museveni unveiled the OSBP at Busia to be operated jointly by the two countries.

At the unified border posts, Immigration, Customs, bureaux of standards, phytosanitary inspections, goods clearance and allied services are done under one roof.

The programme is being coordinated by TradeMark East Africa but financed bya number of development partners including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

Analysts say when fully operationalized, revenue collection and efficiency of movement of goods and people would improve by between 30 and 40 per cent.

Last year, the EAC secretariat embarked on training of 450 customs officers and other border operatives - 30 for each of the 15 formal OSBP and other facilitators to man the facilities.

The training will extend to June this year, according to Stephen Analo, a tax expert with the Arusha-based EAC secretariat.

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said some African countries lose up to five per cent of their annual revenues through porous and inefficient borders.


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