November 10—Nearly $12 million was spent on upgrading the Mutukula border facilities along the Tanzania/Uganda frontier into a single One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which has been officially opened by President John Magufuli and President Yoweri Museveni.
Mutukula is one of the planned 15 OSBPs spread across the East African Community (EAC) intended to halt duplication of effort at the regional borders and speed up processing of both people and goods to strengthen integration. Most are already up and running.
An OSBP is a ‘one stop’ form of border crossing point jointly managed by adjoining Partner States, where multiple border agencies cooperate and collaborate with each other, and effectively coordinate their activities to maximise their operational efficiency.
Museveni said, “I want to thank the British government who have supported us through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), in the construction of the one stop border post making it easy to cross the borders and also to do business with Tanzania. Trade is a means that will help us create prosperity for the people. My government is committed to creating wealth and jobs for the people through creation of enabling environment for services, Information Communication Technology, commercial agriculture and industries.”
UKAID has provided over $52 million to the East African Transit Improvement Programme (EATIP) through TMEA, as a contribution to the World Banks’ East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project (EATTFP).
Speaking in Kisawahili, Magufuli said, “Since time immemorial, Mutukula has been and remains an important node of Tanzania and Uganda. Its importance goes beyond the residents of the two countries as I understand that over 400 World Food Programme trucks carrying food aid for refugees go through here, so the faster clearance is benefiting not only our traders, but also persons in need, and that is important. I am happy that as a result of the OSBP in Mutukula, Tanzania is now able to collect revenue from agencies like Tanzania Bureau of Standards, who were initially not represented at this border point, but are now here because of the OSBP.”
The UK High Commissioner to Uganda, Peter West said, “Increasing Uganda’s trade with its neighbors and the rest of the World is vital for generating growth, promoting job creation and reducing poverty. The UK government is proud to have contributed over £90 million through TradeMark East Africa to support Uganda and Tanzania to reduce the barriers to trade. By cutting red tape, reforming customs processes and improving roads, ports, and border posts, the UK is supporting the creation of an environment essential for businesses to grow. The completion of the Mutukula border post marks an important milestone towards our goal of reducing by a third the time to import from the EAC and the rest of the world.”
OSBP arrangement brings together under one roof, all the Government agencies performing border crossing controls procedures, doing away with need for motorised traffic and persons to undergo clearance twice at both sides of the border. This arrangement expedites movement, release and clearance of goods and persons across borders, by streamlining border procedures, automation of the border processes and simplification of trade documents.
Construction of the Mutukula OSBP was carried out with funding of $11.7million from the United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) while the systems and other related soft infrastructure equivalent to US$1.2million was funded by the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs, Canada. The OSBP investment includes office buildings, roads and parking yards, cargo verification bays, scanner shed, passenger sheds, targeting booths, warehouse and canopies, ICT networks and hardware, furniture, and institutional support to the border agencies.
Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, the EAC Secretary General said, “Much as the One Stop Border concept may look new to some people, the framers of our integration instruments envisioned the need for these facilities and embedded them in the EAC Customs Union Protocol at the time of its negotiation. The first OSBP operations was at Malaba railway station between Uganda and Kenya over ten years ago. At the same time Customs Departments having realized that multiple examination of goods at our internal borders was wasteful and caused unnecessary costs to business, started joint examination of cargo of which Mutukula Border was a pioneer. These pilot programs provided a practical justification for up-scaling the One Stop Border program in the entire region.”