Kampala. Clearing cargo between Uganda and Tanzania should now be much faster after the launch of the Mutukula one stop border post (OSBP).
The Mutukula OSBP commissioned by the President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli, is also expected to allow freer movement of people between the two neighbouring countries.
In their remarks during the commissioning last week, the two Presidents warned border officials from inhibiting cross-border movements and said the OSPB comes in handy in spurring regional trade.
OSBP bring together immigration and customs officials from two neighbouring countries under one roof at border crossing points.
As a result, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officials will jointly attend to importers, exporters and travellers from either side of the border under one roof.
Therefore, instead of clearing trucks and persons twice or even more at both sides of the border, this time they will be cleared once from one of the OSPB before being allowed to proceed.
This means that transit goods, passengers, travellers and exports exiting through Mutukula to either Tanzania or Uganda, stop once for clearance by immigration and customs officials and not twice or even multiple times as it was the case before the OSBP came into force.
Speaking about the OSPB, President Museveni said trade facilitation such as OSBP, would result into prosperity because it allows the border communities as well as the two countries to do business and create wealth amongst themselves, something President Magufuli agreed with. He said: “You need to sell what we produce. If that is interfered with, then that means prosperity and wealth creation is being tampered with.”
He continued: “So, if officers at the immigration stop movement of people and trade, they will be hindering trade and wealth generation.”
Addressing the crowd in Kiswahili, Mr Magufuli directed that only three police road blocks be stationed between Dare-es-Saalam and Mutukula. He said that will ensure less interruption of transit goods.
“I understand that over 400 World Food Programme trucks carrying food aid for refugees go through here, so the faster the clearance the better for all of us including those in need of the aid,” he said.
He continued: “I am happy that as a result of the OSBP in Mutukula, Tanzania is now able to collect revenue and have presence of agencies like Tanzania Bureau of Standards, which was initially not represented here.”
Return on investment
While delivering her speech, URA Commissioner General Doris Akol said: “The OSBP will facilitate trade and quick movement of passengers.”
TradeMark East Africa, with support from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Global Affairs Canada, funded the Mutukula OSPB construction to the tune Shs19.1b.
Other OSBPs in Uganda are Mirama Hills connecting Uganda to Rwanda, Busia- Malaba connecting Uganda to Kenya. Overall, TradeMark has injected more than $117m in constructions of the OSBPs in the region.
Trademark East Africa chief executive officer Frank Matsaert said the launch of Mutukula OSBP is a major milestone in improving the trade environment between the two countries—Uganda and Tanzania.