The governments of Uganda and Kenya have come up with actionable measures aimed at easing the flow of cargo between the two countries which had become stagnated at the Malaba One Stop Border Post in the recent days.
The backlog of both wet and dry cargo started piling up when truckers, especially from Kenya, protested what they termed as “double testing of Covid-19” imposed by Ugandan Authorities.
The protests led to heavy traffic jam of cargo trucks stretching up to about 70 kilometres into Kenya in turn affecting fuel prices in Uganda.
Although Kampala eased on the vaccination and entry procedure for truck drivers, the traffic became overwhelming for both Uganda and Kenya clearing and tax bodies which prompted both governments to come up with everlasting solutions to ease cargo flow between the partner states on short and long term basis.
On 22nd January, Transport Ministers of Uganda and Kenya held a bilateral meeting at Malaba one stop border and resolved on actionable steps to be adopted by both governments with immediate effect.
The steps agreed upon between Hon. Katumba Wamala of Uganda and his counterpart Kenyan transport minister James Macharia are to be adopted by both Uganda Revenue Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority.
Also, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) will immediately start collaborating with Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA) to ease fast movement of cargo between the two countries.
In order to reduce on the backlog, Ministers agreed that Kenya Revenue Authority should allow more export traffic inflow into Uganda and reduce on their imports using a phased manner by both tax bodies.
Uganda Revenue Authority was ordered to direct all empty trucks and trucks for perishables of less than 7 tonnes to pass through Lwakhakha.
It was also resolved that both URA and KRA increase staff at entry points into Uganda to 5 and 4 per 8 hour shift respectively while the Kenya Tax body was requested, with immediate effect, to suspend scanning of trucks to Uganda at Malaba one stop border point until the crisis is managed.
On Uganda’s part, URA suspended verification at its cargo station yard and forwarded such trucks to DOJ and JOJ bonds in Malaba, and Busia millers in Busia.
In terms of security along the Mombasa-Kampala highway, Uganda and Kenya security agencies were asked to reduce on security checks along this route to facilitate quick movement of trucks conveying cargo in both countries.
Further, the ministers also agreed on new strategic operations and collaboration between the Uganda road authority and Kenya highway authority to ease movement of cargo, a move which has been highly welcome by transporters and truckers.
Truckers who spoke to ChimpReports said the move will be time saving since Uganda’s weigh bridges will be digitalized to match the standard with KENHA.
Initially, UNRA was asked to suspend weigh bridge activities until after clearance of the backlog in a period of one week.
UNRA and Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA) have been tasked to expedite the possibility of integrating weigh bridge systems data to enable acceptance of Kenya weigh certificates for sealed cargo.
UNRA was also asked to fast track the deployment of high speed weigh in motion technology at critical points on highways.
High Speed weigh in motion technology enables trucks to be weighed without necessarily stopping at the point. This helps to reduce jam.
There is also an ongoing integration of scanner systems in both Kenya and Uganda to enable faster analysis of cargo as UNBS is taking up the calibration of all weigh bridges in Uganda.
Uganda – South Sudan routes
K-Polygone, the company charged with clearing cargo destined for South Sudan was suspended from operations at Uganda borders and directed to provide an MOU with the South Sudan government before they continue with operations in Uganda.
The flow of goods at Nimule is still being hindered as the company suspended by the Ministry of Trade defied the ministerial order.
Recently, the Ministry of Trade and Industry of South Sudan suspended a contract agreement it had signed with K-Polygone SAS over a violation.
Reports indicate that according to the agreement, K-Polygone SAS would manage Electronic Cargo Tracking into South Sudan, but the company went ahead and contracted a sub-contractor in Uganda to do the job.
The partner company, IVESCO Uganda Limited, then allegedly introduced extra charges on transporters, something importers protested – disrupting the flow of goods into the country since last week.
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