Busia town was treated to one of the biggest East African Community celebrations as Presidents; Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Kenya counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta officially launched the Busia One Stop Border Post – OSBP.
OSBP is an integrated border system that leads to improved efficiencies through streamlined, coordinated and harmonized procedures under one roof/structure.
TradeMark East Africa – TMEA with support from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and partners has developed “15 OSBPs in East Africa including South Sudan and has invested about USD 117 million in OSBPs and access roads. Estimates of benefits show a return of about about 30 for every dollar invested.”
Several dignitaries from Uganda, Kenya, EAC, and Europe attended the colourful event held at the Busia Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) clearance compound. Thousands of residents from Busia Uganda and Busia Kenya also witnessed the commissioning with soft drinks and entertainment on the house; something that further exciting the already appreciative gathering.
At the event, speaker after speaker showcased how the Busia OSBP was changing lives of traders and tourists alike with both President Museveni and Kenyatta thanking TradeMark East Africa for a great trade facilitation job it has implemented across EAC over the past 8 years.
How OSBPs are facilitating Trade.
In Uganda, 4 OSBPs are operational, managed by URA and Ministry of Trade. These are Mutukula OSBP at the Uganda-Tanzania border, Mirama Hills OSBP at the Uganda-Rwanda Border, Busia OSBP at the Uganda-Kenya border and Malaba OSBP also at the Uganda-Kenya border.
Since, their establishment, OSBPs have significantly improved trade, movement of people and cargo across EAC.
In 2011, it took 45 hours for cargo to cross the Mutukula border at the Uganda-Tanzania. By 2017, this had reduced to only 4 hours, leading to a 90% time saving.
Again, in 2011, it took some 14 hours for cargo to cross the Busia Border ( Uganda-Kenya). Cargo crossing time as of 2017 had reduced to only 4 hours. This can only get better.
Lastly, in 2011, it took 1.5 hours for cargo to cross the Mirama Hills Border ( Uganda-Rwanda). Today, the same cargo takes only 20 minutes to cross the same border.
Investments in border infrastructure has led to reduced time for cargo to transit through the main corridors and to cross borders thus enhancing the regions interconnectedness in trade.
This has contributed to the EAC being touted as one of the most integrated regions as attested by the 2016 African Regional Integration Index Report.
OSBPs have equally improved cross border trade with cross border traders getting easier access to markets, simplification of their clearance process and better work relations with border officials.