The taxman recorded a revenue growth of 300 per cent at the Busia-Uganda border over the past three years and is looking to net more with establishment of the one stop border post.
KRA Western Kenya coordinator Kevin Safari said the post, opened in June 2016, had cut transit costs and delays, fueling traders’ confidence in the East Africa’s busiest corridor.
The one stop border post (OSBP), he said had cut down clearance procedures from 16 to about “three or four” clearing congestion that previously saw a fleet of trucks line up, some for a week, as they waited for clearance.
“An average of 250 trucks pass through this border every day and the OSBP has reduced clearance time from two or three days to between 20 to 30 minutes. This means that transit time is greatly reduced and more traders can use the corridor efficiently,” he said. A trader exporting goods to Uganda for example only needs to present the exit note and the cargo manifest to the customs desk for verification on the Ugandan side of the border.
The desk has officers from Kenya and Uganda sitting side by side. The Kenyan official clears the goods for export and hands over to the Ugandan counterpart to clear them for import, a process that takes about 15 minutes.
Previously, traders in the region were slowed by tedious clearance procedures at the two customs points, which required inspection at both sides of the border. This process created delays and congestion at the border posts.
It took up to two weeks for goods to move from the Kenyan coast of Mombasa into Uganda, with much of the delays taking place at the clearing posts. “It will take roughly two days with one clearing post,” said Safari.
Although exports to Uganda dipped from Sh52.2 billion last year to Sh41.8 billion in the 10 months to October last year, Safari said prospects were looking bright with the OSBP. The one stop post, he said, had also sealed revenue loopholes occasioned by the manual system of clearance whereby clearing and forwarding agents could easily collude with customs agents at the border. [Dalton Nyabundi]