Wednesday, July 1, 2015

EA Presidents to grace official launching of Holili and Taveta OSBP buildings

PRESIDENTS of Tanzania and Kenya are expected to grace the occasion at the official launching of Holili and Taveta One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) buildings scheduled to take place  in August this year, an official with the Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) has said. TMEA’s Programme Manager in charge of border posts David Muturi said on Wednesday this week when briefing a team of journalists from Tanzania and Kenya during their orientation visit of the two constructed sites at Taveta on Kenyan side. The two projects which started in 2011 have been financed by TMEA after the immediate signing of the bilateral agreement between Tanzania and Kenya, and have started to operate as one stop centre for clearing goods and passengers’ documentations in early June this year. The construction of Tanzania building that costs $ 6 million was successfully completed in April last year, whereas the Kenyan building in Taveta was finished in May at a cost of $ 8.3 million. The operation at both border controlling centres has produced desired results by reducing 30 per cent timeframe for truck and passengers’ clearance overdue. According to Muturi, initially a truck could be cleared for 27 hours, now drivers would have their trucks cleared for 9 hours. Likewise, passenger documentations would be finished within 3 to 5 minutes while waiting at the counter, unlike before passengers had to wait for hours to be cleared.

Journalists from Tanzania and Kenya being briefed on what is going on at a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Taveta on Kenyan side.

Elabotating the concept of One-Stop-Border Post, Muturi noted that OSBP is that traffic crossing the border need only to stop at one border post. it means placing border officials of two adjoining countries at each other’s adjoining border post so that each border post controls only the traffic entering the country and not the exiting one.  Journalists from Tanzania and Kenya who visited Holili and Taveta witnessed a handful of trucks from Mombasa port offloading goods, including the cars for clients from Northern Regions of Tanzania. On his part, TMEA’s Communications Manager Nelson Karanja said that, TMEA is currently financing 13 OSBPs in East Africa, including the one at the Burundi/Tanzania border – the pilot post that is proving that the system works – at a cost of approximately between $ 7 and 8.5 million each. Each post consists of an office building for the border agencies, parking for trucks, a ramp for offloading goods, an inspection and verification warehouse and other facilities that are required at every border posts including the immigrations and customs formalities. However, he noted that, the Holili/Taveta will be the second OSBP to operate in the country and within East Africa region after the Rusumo border post on the Rwanda Tanzania border the first of its kind which was financed by the World Bank two years ago.

Fleet lining up at Holili border post near Himo along Moshi-Taveta-Voi road waiting to be cleared.

That means that a Rwanda businessman exporting goods overseas, through this border, can have all the paperwork sorted from one point on the Rwanda side of the One-Stop-Border post. Similarly, goods entering the country can have all the customs paperwork sorted from the other side without going through another cumbersome process upon crossing the border. This has been made possible by new facilities put in place under the One-Stop-Border project that bring all officials involved in the process of clearing people and goods under one roof. He said this had been long-overdue as traders have for decades complained about the numerous and lengthy customs documentation while crossing borders within the region. This has not only cost them time, but also money as goods unnecessarily delay reaching the market. However, he has praised TMEA for its dedication that the Holili/Taveta project will eliminate the red tape and enable people and their goods to move faster for the good of all the economy of the whole region. He further added that, the project has therefore comes in handy in accelerating economic integration in the East African Community, by eliminating some of the non-tariff barriers to free and faster movement of goods and services. “Beyond regional integration, faster movement within our borders will certainly make the region a better and cheaper place to do business and more attractive to foreign investors”, he s aid.

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