November 10—Doris Akol, the Commissioner General of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), has raised concerns over the limited presence of commercial banks at the Mutukula crossing between Tanzania and Uganda.
Official data shows that everyday, an average of 542 vehicles (310 of those cargo trucks) pass through the Mutukula-Mutukula crossing from Central Corridor into Uganda.
She was part of the large Ugandan contingent that joined their Tanzanian counterparts this week when President John Magufuli and President Yoweri Museveni officially opened the One Stop Border Post (OSBP).
“The whole idea of OSBP is to ease trade by reducing the time traders spend at borders clearing goods. However due to lack of banks, our traders are losing a lot of time and money. The nearest branches are in Kyotera and even there are a few of them there. We have talked to banks to open a branch here at the border, but all of them are reluctant.” Akol said.
Akol said that there isn’t any bank that has put up a branch at Mutukula border although URA has tried to engage different banks.
“The other challenge is power. All systems here are automated meaning that every process is done on a computer. We need a lot of power to keep the system moving smoothly. When power is off for a long time, although we have generators, it disrupts the system. We are working with concerned companies to see how we can have a stable power supply so that out efforts do not go to waste,” she said.
Under one roof, the Mutukula OSBP has harmonized working procedures, faster customs processing and information sharing which will reduce waiting times at the border point. This will contribute to reducing trade costs in East Africa.