What you need to know:
- Ms Malonza said they had agreed to a joint venture of undertaking dual carriage roads between Kisumu and Eldoret, both in Kenya, and Mukono in Uganda, adding that the move aims at reducing congestion on the Northern Corridor, which is experiencing increasing volumes of trade.
Kampala and Nairobi have signed a common pact to sort out congestion at borders in Tororo and Busia districts.
In doing so, they will have beaten the jam at both borders, which lie on the major trade route, the Northern Corridor, for goods to and from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Specifically, both countries have resolved to undertake the construction of a dual carriage road on the Northern Corridor route, and to also have two new borders created in Busia, at Mulwadda in Buhehe Sub-county and Buteba in Buteba Sub-county.
Ms Rebecca Kadaga, the First Deputy Premier and Minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs and her Kenyan counterpart, Ms Peninah Malonza, the Cabinet Secretary for the EAC, signed on behalf of their countries last Friday.
Ms Malonza said they had agreed to a joint venture of undertaking dual carriage roads between Kisumu and Eldoret, both in Kenya, and Mukono in Uganda, adding that the move aims at reducing congestion on the Northern Corridor, which is experiencing increasing volumes of trade.
“The construction of the dual carriage road aims to cater for challenges of congestion which has, for years, continued to be an impediment to the faster movement of goods and services in the region,” Ms Malonza said.
She added that they agreed to create border points at Buteba and Mulwadda (in both Kenya and Uganda) to reduce pressure on Busia and Malaba.
“As Kenya, we already have a framework for the establishment of these two new entry points and wish Uganda takes this up seriously and urgently,” Ms Malonzo added.
Ms Kadaga said: “With the dual carriage road in place from Kenya to Uganda, we hope to reduce the time goods wait in the queues to cross the border and this is the right direction to promote business in the region.”
Ms Kadaga reiterated the importance of creating the two borders and instructed relevant Uganda departments to urgently start on the process.
Each day, Busia and Malaba borders handle more than 3,000 trucks, and with an increase in exports, especially from Uganda.
Mr Jaberi Okello, a truck driver who transports goods across the Ugandan and Kenyan borders, decried delay and congestion.
“Sometimes because of the congestion, I spend between three and four days trying to beat the jam and cross to either side of the country,” Mr Okello said.
He added that incurs additional costs while buying food due to the long hours he spends in the queue.
“When you are caught up in the jam, you don’t have time to exit the truck or sleep because you will never know when the trucks are released or whether thieves are vandalising parts of your truck,” Mr Okello added.
Stuart Yiga, a student at Busia Secondary School in Busia Town, said: “The trucks block the road, making it hard to cross the road. So we are at risk of getting accidents.”
SUB EDITOR: JOAN AKELLO