DATE 16th AUGUST 2015

BY Sammy Kwichichi Wekesa-Public Communications Officer

The Principal Secretary with State Department of East African Affairs, Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mr. John O. Konchellah says Partner States of the East African Community have embarked on the operationalization of 15 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) along their common entry points to reduce the time taken to clear goods and services by between 30-40%.

Mr. Konchellah at the same time announced that the Government has appointed Kenya Revenue Authority officials to be in charge of all Borders posts management committees to be assisted by Immigration officers so as to ensure smooth operations at the One Stop Border Posts currently under construction.

He also commissioned the management committee for Namanga Border post, which is also under re-construction under the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Concept, to serve Kenya and Tanzania. Tanzania has already completed constructing its OSBP, and waiting commissioning by the two heads of State. Kenya’s Lunga Lunga/Horo Horo is complete is also due for opening by the government next month.

Mr. Konchellah added, instead of agencies of adjoining states at each border clearing goods and services separately, they will be housed in one building to promote trade and investment within the EAC.

He was speaking when he commissioned the Border Facility Management Committee for Namanga Border post, and opened a capacity building and border stakeholder’s workshop on operational procedures of OSBPs at Namanga border post. Participants included KRA, security, National and County Government officials, Kenya Bureau of Standards, KENTRADE, KEPHIS, Business Community representatives and KWS among others. The workshop was sponsored the Japanese International Aid development Agency(JICA)

In a speech read on his behalf by a Diretor for Productive and Services In the Ministry Mr. Alfred Kitolo announced that the construction of Lungalunga OSBP was complete, and will be handed over to a facility Management and Trade facilitation committee in September this year. He outlined the role of OSBPs Management Committees, which include managing the affairs of the property by protecting government interests.

He cautioned Management Committee to be put in place not to infringe on the rights of the local community’s social-cultural rights while they crossed along the common borders.

Amongst the border posts under construction to enhance service delivery include:-

Tanzania/Rwanda – Kabanga/Kobero

Kenya/Tanzania – Lungalunga/Horohoro

Kenya/Uganda – Busia/Busia

Kenya/Uganda – Malaba/Malaba

Tanzania/Uganda – Mutukula/Mutukula

Kenya/Tanzania – Isebania/Sirare

Kenya/Tanzania – Taveta/Holili

Rwanda/Tanzania – Rusumo/Rusumo

Rwanda/Tanzania –Gatuna/Katuna

Burundi/Rwanda – Gasenyi/Nemba

Rwanda/Uganda – Kagitumba/Mirama hills

Burundi/Tanzania – Kobero/Kabanga

Burundi/Rwanda – Ruhwa/Ruhwa

Kenya/Tanzania – Namanga/Namanga

Mr. Kitolo said the membership of the management committees will include all regulatory agencies operating within the two countries plus one representative from the private sector.

Kajiado Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Mr. Elkana Picha lauded the EAC member states’ government move to construct One Stop Border Posts, in order to deepen the EAC integration process and improve the free flow of goods and services across its common boundaries. He called on both Kenya and Tanzania to address the perennial water shortage in the area in order to improve service delivery at the facility.

A Senior Assistant Director, Mr. Juma Wakhungu said entry procedures at any border post will not begin until exit procedures/controls are completed in order to avoid conflicts over national jurisdiction. He added, where security equipment is available, cargo should be selected for scanning using Risk Management. “At all times”, all Agencies will have access to scanning and possible physical inspection he stressed.

An Economist from Tanzania government Mr. Masolo Pima said the OSBPs operationalization will not hinder small scale business men from conducting their businesses, but the border facility management committees will come up with methods of how to settle them.

Mr. James Kivuva, Senior Assistant Director of the State Department of East African Affairs said that parties agreed that respective officers shall jointly conduct physical inspections, undertake searches, take samples and cargoes and inspect means of transport, under the Kenya/Tanzania Bilateral Agreement.

Alternatively, Mr. Kivuva added, either party may rely on the inspection results of the other party, which results shall not be unreasonably withheld.