Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has said Kenya and Uganda have resolved to upgrade the Suam border point to ease pressure on Malaba and Busia.
Addressing leaders in Mbale, James Malinzi, the URA regional customs manager eastern Uganda, said this is part of the support the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is giving URA to develop capacity to control borders.
“Jica is helping URA under the global shield programme to enhance the capacity for border control and development of standard training manuals,” he said, noting that the Kenyan government had already started constructing the road from Kitale to Suam border while Uganda was almost completing the road towards the border point.
As part of the measures to improve revenue collection in eastern Uganda, Mr Malinzi said, the Japanese government under Jica, is supporting URA with motorcycles to patrol border points and marine boats to patrol water crossings. This seeks to curb smuggling while maximising revenue collections amid rising revenue collection targets.
URA has a revenue collection target of about Shs21 trillion this financial year compared to Shs18 trillion in the 2018/19 financial year.
Jica has also, according to Mr Malinzi, made available night vision equipment to boost night patrols as well as train staff of different agencies and linking systems in Uganda and Kenya to ease goods clearing time between the two countries.
Kenya and Uganda share a long border stretching from Lake Victoria to Karamoja and River Nile.
However, the most commonly used borders are Malaba and the recently upgraded Busia One Stop Border Point, which controls 80 per cent of the goods that enter Uganda, Burundi and DR Congo.
The Suam border post is expected to ease pressure on the two border points.
According to Mr Yutaka Fukase, the Jica chief representative of Uganda, the intervention is part of the Japanese government overseas development assistance offered in the areas of agriculture, health, education and human development at grass root level to improve production and productivity.