Gatuna border re-opens to heavy trucks

Photo taken late May of works on Gatuna One-Stop Border Post which reopened today to heavy trucks for a period of two weeks. (File)

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Gatuna border post between Rwanda and Uganda will effective Monday, June 10, reopen to heavy trucks for a period of two weeks, Rwanda Revenue Authority has said.

The tax authority said in a statement that this will allow for trial activities following the construction of one-stop border post facilities on the Rwandan side of the border crossing.

“Reference is made to Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) letter dated 7th June 2019, which expresses the need to carry out trials for the heavy trucks movement at Gatuna OSBP for a period of two (2) weeks from 10th up to 22nd June 2019, and assess the operationalization of the constructed works and equipment before the reception of works,” the RRA statement signed by Commissioner General Pascal Ruganintwali Bizimana reads in part.

It adds: “The Management of Rwanda Revenue Authority is pleased to inform the general public that heavy trucks are allowed to provisionally cross Gatuna OSBP between 10th-22nd June 2019 in order to facilitate these trial activities requested by RTDA.”

Kigali closed Gatuna border to heavy trucks in March allowing only light traffic to use the crossing as construction works began in earnest.

The Government advised heavy truck drivers to use the other two border posts with Uganda; Kagitumba and Cyanika.

The project, which is fully funded by the Government, is being implemented by local firm NPD Cotraco.

When The New Times visited the border late last month, workers were mostly involved with the finishing aspects such as levelling the compound, fixing the drainage system, planting grass, among others.

A supervisor at the site said at the time that works would be completed within about three weeks.

A one-stop border post allows passengers and cargo to complete crossing formalities at a shared facility, hence easing cross-border trade and movement.

It allows for all procedures and processing of documentation for goods and passengers either direction to be carried out in a single clearance hall, significantly cutting on the time it takes when such immigration and customs approvals on either side are conducted separately.

Rwanda has at least a one-stop border post with each of its four neighbours, with the Gatuna facility set to be the second such crossing with Uganda, after Kagitumba.

Construction works on the Gatuna one-stop border post had attracted criticism from the Ugandan government, which dismissed the works as a convenient excuse to close the border.

However, Rwanda rejected the claims saying the OSBP project had been pending for a while.

There is little progress on the Ugandan side of the border after the funder, World Bank, withdrew from the OSBP project citing shoddy works.

The East African Community, to which both Rwanda and Uganda are members, has actively been promoting the concept of one-stop border posts citing their advantages to regional trade and integration.

AFP

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