21 May 2018

Rwanda: Kagitumba Border Starts 24 Hour Operation

Photo: New Times
The Kagitumba border crossing.

The Kagitumba-Mirama Hills One-Stop Border Post (OSBP), one of the major border crossings linking Rwanda and Uganda, on Saturday started operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

William Musoni, the acting Commissioner of Customs at Rwanda Revenue Authority, confirmed this on Sunday, noting that having round-the-clock service available every day of the year, "is important as it will facilitate cross border trade in general."

Musoni added: "Passengers will cross at any time without necessarily saying that the border post is closing at any time. We are expecting the usual traffic plus the traffic that was passing through Gatuna."

The new development comes shortly after Horizon Construction, the subsidiary of Horizon Group Limited last week completed emergency repair works on a section of the Kigali-Gatuna highway and managed to normalize traffic on the busy highway.

However, another section of this road on the Ugandan side, in the Kyonyo area along the Katuna-Kabale road, also caved on Saturday, disrupting transport especially for heavy trucks.

The road in Uganda, just like the Rwandan section earlier, was affected by heavy landslides.

Following the incident, the Ugandan police placed signs to direct light traffic and advised heavy traffic to use the newly completed Ntungamo-Mirama Hills tarmac road to connect to Rwanda.

Last year, the Ugandan section of the 37-kilometre Ntungamo-Mirama Hills road was upgraded to bitumen standard. Previously, transporters had over decades braved potholes, dust, delays and high transport costs associated with the murrum road which would especially be chaotic during rainy seasons.

Speaking to The New Times to Issa Mugarura, vice-president of Rwanda's Truck Drivers Association (ACPLRWA), day and night operations at Kagitumba have been welcomed as they are easing work.

Heavy trucks continue to use this road ever since the problem in Kyonyo started, he said.

"This is very good. The positive impact is that those trucks that would arrive at the border in the evening and be compelled to park and spend a night there are now moving at night and this is big for us when it comes to saving time, and money," Mugarura said.

His only worry, he said, even though no cases have been registered so far, is that there could develop cases of theft as trucks are often robbed on other highways at night.

The Kagitumba border crossing was upgraded to OSBP in 2015. Just like the Gatuna OSBP, dozens of trucks and buses cross the border on a daily basis.

With round-the-clock service available every day of the year, Bosco Rusagara, the Director of Infrastructure and Transport at the East Africa Business Council said, it will lead to efficiency in many ways including improving client satisfaction.

Rusagara told The New Times: "It will lower trade costs, decrease time to do business and ease customs cooperation when moving goods and services in and out of the country."

Both Kagitumba and Gatuna are used by freight transporters to connect to the port of Mombasa in Kenya through Uganda.

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