The senate committee for trade has faulted the government for overlooking operation services at Malaba and Busia OSBP despite huge revenue generated by the busy gateway to East Africa.
Despite Malaba and Busia One Stop Border Points generating over 10 billion annually, the two customs are faced with numerous challenges which paralyze operation causing traffic snarl-up of upto 20km.
From leaking roofs in the server room, regular power outage, acute water shortage, poor hygiene and under staffing which hamper general operation causing huge losses in terms of revenue collected.
The committee led by Busia senator Okiya Omutata, Kiambu senator Karungo Wathangwa and Crystal Asige visited Malaba and Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) to ascertain how best the government can improve the operation efficiency in an effort to boost revenue.
“We are here on a fact finding mission to establish how best we can improve the operations at OSBPs to boost revenue collection from 10 billion to 15 billion p.a. The two entry points need urgent intervention and upgrade to match international standards,” said senator Karungo Wathangwa.
Malaba clears over 2000 trucks on a daily basis and according to the committee introduction of smart gates will be the appropriate solution to the traffic snarl-up.
“Malaba and Busia OSBPs being the gateway to East and Central Africa need modern solutions. Introduction of smart gates and more improved scanners will make trade efficient thus boosting trade circle,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by Busia senator Okiya Omutata noting the government needs bilateral talks with Uganda to resolve the move that has seen Uganda opt to trade with rival’s Tanzania.
“The country is losing a significant amount of revenue due to inefficiencies caused by frequent power outages, insufficient staffing, staff shortages during lunchtime, and some trailers using informal routes. The commissioner general of KRA and CS transports must visit Malaba to address the mess,” said Omutata.
The committee was shocked to establish that leaking roof in the server room and regular power outage are the leading contributor to traffic and revenue pilferage as traders opt to use porous routes to save on time.
“At Malaba we experience power outages 5 times a day and with the nature of backup generators we have services that are derailed,” explained custom manager Gideon Chepkole.
This comes a day after Teso North MP Oku Kaunya, while speaking at the funeral of a Busia county doctor who was involved in a road accident, demanded CS Murkomen to visit Malaba and address the menace caused by trailers.
“Here at Malaba every week we bury a bodaboda operator or pedestrian due to traffic caused by trailers. We urge the government to dual this road to mitigate the death trend that is on rise,” said Kaunya.
Cross Border women chairperson challenged the committee to revisit the East Africa trade agreement which has disadvantaged Kenyans giving lime line to counterparties from Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.