One-Stop Border Post’ in the offing

The Tanzania-Kenya border post of Holili is to start implementing the East African Community’s idea of One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) in May this year.

The project is financed by different donors who channel funds through the Trade Mark of East Africa (TMEA).

The OSBP director, from TMEA, Mr Theo Lyimo, said construction of the building at Holili on the Tanzanian side has reached about 80 per cent.

“We are almost in the final stages and we’re expecting to put in place a wide-range of facilities geared to reduce transport costs incurred in cross-border movement,” the official said.

“If all goes well, OSBP on the Tanzanian side will start full operations in May this year. On the Kenyan side, users will have to wait a bit as construction of the OSBP building delayed.”

Upon its completion, TMEA is expected to spend $4.5 million on the Tanzanian side and $5.5 million on the Kenyan side of Taveta.

The OSBP arrangement is meant to reduce transit costs incurred in cross-border movement by combining the activities of both countries’ border organisations and agencies at either a single common location or at a single location in either direction without increasing risk to public safety or revenue collection. 

“Studies have proved that transportation costs in East Africa, are among the highest in the world. This has been damaging the region’s ability to trade competitively in the international market. In particular, the time taken to get to and from the ports to land locked countries is singled out as a major factor,” Mr Lyimo stated.

In addition, poor infrastructure and delays at border crossings are further contributing factors along the East African (EA) trade routes.

He, however, stated that most National Revenue Authorities have made considerable progress to modernise their approach on the application of border controls including the introduction of information technology to increase the effectiveness of control procedures at border posts.

“The objective is to implement correct, systematic and effective controls to facilitate the movement of passengers and goods while ensuring effective revenue collection and enhanced public security,” he said.

Mr Lyimo said that TMEA will identify other ways of reinforcing border controls as an important component of the East African Community’s capacity to fight against fraud, corruption and drug trafficking.

“TMEA will do this by conducting infrastructure audits and needs assessment to determine what causes delays at borders and identify ways of reducing cost and time elements by enhancing the use of information technology.

“We will also map the process and time when trucks and people arrive at borders and when they exit, including all requirements they must comply with under the law,” he added.

It is expected that construction of OSBP at the Holili-Taveta border will reduce in clearance times for passengers and transit goods at border crossings; increase in the utilization of risk assessment to reduce invasive inspection of transit goods at each border crossing.

The OSBP will also increase in cooperation; joint inspection and verification of goods in transit at border crossings; as well as further utilisation of modern technology such as weigh in motion and x-ray facilities; and better transparency and accountability in transit operations, through the utilization of existing IT systems that monitor the entry and exit of the transit goods. 
Source: The Citizen, and Xinhua
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