President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Maghufuli will on Saturday 1stDecember launch the Namanga One Stop Border Post (OSBP), marking a huge milestone in trade facilitation across East African Community (EAC).
The launch of Namanga OSBP paves way for speedy clearance of goods moving in the main trade corridor between Kenya and Tanzania. The Namanga OSBP is part of the EAC regional initiative, implemented jointly with Kenya and Tanzania, supported by development partners through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AfDB.
The event opens up the border for better trade hence more revenue through Tanzania –Kenya trade. Namanga OSBP was first opened in October 2017, ushering in the era of harmonized border services between Kenya and Tanzania.
The OSBP has since eradicated the myriad bottlenecks that stood in the way of efficient service delivery at the facility. One of the major scores realised after its establishment has been reduction in the time taken to clear people and goods from Kenya to Tanzania and vice versa.
In 2014, for instance, it took approximately 277 minutes to clear goods destined for Tanzania from Kenya. This time has now substantively reduced to about one hour thus saving valuable time.
Reduced clearance time has now increased trade between Kenya and Tanzania, since traders are able to avail their products to the market within a shorter time. The Namanga OSBP is strategically a vital trade facilitation corridor for both countries.
As a result of the facilitation, revenue received between October and February 2016/2017 financial year, was at Ksh993 million. Comparatively, some Ksh1.46 billion was collected over the same period in the 2017/2018 financial year which translates to a Ksh466 million increase in revenue collected.
The Namanga OSPB also boosts the tourism industry for both Kenya and Tanzania given that it is the very point tourists use to enter either countries especially during the historic wildebeest migration.
The OSBP has also brought about border security in the vicinity. This is enabled by joint operations by government agencies from both Kenya and Tanzania such as border surveillance and intelligence gathering.
Regionally, OSBPs are mandated by the East Africa Community One-Stop Border Post Act, 2016 and the various bilateral agreements signed between adjoining states. The Act is now augmented by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force in February 2017.
The Namanga OSBP is among the 13 border posts in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania that have been converted from ‘two-stop’ border posts into single premises entity or OSBPs to facilitate movement of people and goods across the East African Community.
The other OSBPs are Busia which was commissioned in February this year, Taveta/Holili, Lunga Lunga/Hororo and Isebania/Sirari on the Kenya-Tanzania border, Malaba on the Kenya-Uganda border as well as Moyale on the Ethiopia-Kenya border. More include Mutukula, Rusumo, Nemba-Gasenyi, Ruhwa, Mirama Hills/Kagitumba and Kobero-Kabanga.