The government of Kenya in partnership with Uganda has announced plans to transport cargo efficiently by decongesting the busy Eldoret-Malaba highway which is the gateway to East and Central Africa.
Speaking after the inspection of Malaba dry port, the CS for Roads and Transport Kipchumba Murkomen noted that Kenyan government has plans in place to install more improved and digital scanners at Malaba and Busia One Stop Border Posts(OSBP) as a way of reducing time wasted to clear trucks at the border.
The CS made his remarks when he played host to Uganda’s state minister for Works and Transport Musa Ecweru who was in the country to deliberate on possible solutions to the road transport that has caused uproar among road users.
The two East African Community member states at the same time said an agreement had been struck to open auxiliary roads at the border to eliminate traffic jams along the Malaba-Bungoma highway.
“After much deliberation, the scanning process has been identified as the main challenge that has contributed largely to the heavy traffic witnessed within the border and we have suggested increasing the number of scanners within three months to boost the efficiency thus enhancing trade,” noted CS Murkomen.
“However, this will be a temporary measure as we advance talks with our sister countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to extend SGR up to DRC Congo as a permanent solution,” added the CS noted that the government of Kenya will shift the operation of dry port from Naivasha to Malaba to expend trade.
Malaba Border is the busiest OSBP where over 2500 trucks are cleared daily generating over 15 billion revenue annually.
The move comes weeks after the Ugandan government continues to record an increasing number of empty trucks heading back to Mombasa that build a stretch of over 15KM from Malaba waiting for clearance along Malaba-Jinja Highway.
“Our objective is to make sure the SGR in the fullness of time is taken all the way to DR Congo so that it can foster faster movement of goods and people and deepen integration as a region. We will engage further to bolster the partnership on transport and trade,” Murkomen said.
His sentiments were echoed by Uganda state minister of Works Musa Ecweru who said the partnership aims at smoothening the transport sector that has witnessed a lot of hiccups.
According to Ecweru, the government of Uganda has renewed its commitment in construction of SGR from Malaba to Kampala and rehabilitation of Tororo- Gulu- Pakwach meter gauge railway.
“Our nature of engagement with Kenyan CsS for roads was aligned in ensuring the cost of business is effective and efficient thus boosting regional integration on matters of trade and transport,” noted Ecweru.
The two governments agreed on the issue of empty trucks enrouting back in Kenya through Lwakhakha road as a temporary measure to improve services as the agencies at the custom will concentrate more on cargo-transits.
Teso North MP Oku Kaunya applauded the move by CS Murkoment to respond promptly to the plights of truck drivers and residents of Teso by assuring the community that the government will prioritize dueling of the road from Kanduyi to Malaba OSBP to minimize traffic as well as mitigating accidents.
“I am delighted by the move by the CS to address the traffic mirage and also to reduce dangers exposed to road users as a result of traffic. We have witnessed fatal accidents weekly along this road involving truck drivers and motorists, we believe the engagement will offer a permanent solution,” noted Hon. Kaunya.
The lawmaker noted that even though trucks contribute to the business and development of Malaba town, measures need to be taken to mitigate risks the community is exposed to.