A meeting attended by trade experts and customs officials from the IGAD member states was held on 6th and 7th 05, 2013 in Kampala to validate a study report on the legal framework and modalities for the establishment of one stop border posts in the IGAD region.
The Executive Secretary Amb. Eng. Maalim Mahboub`s opening remarks were delivered by the Program Manager Trade, Industry and Tourism Mr. Joseph Rwanshote. The ES said that establishing one stop border posts across IGAD member states is one of the trade facilitation measures that IGAD Secretariat has been focusing on to boost intra member states trade in the IGAD region.
IGAD Secretariat is pushing for greater reforms of the business climate and improved competitiveness and focusing on simplifying regulatory processes as the states trade across borders.
Some of the member states like Kenya are taking impressive steps: Thus Kenya is constructing five one stop border posts along its borders with Uganda and Tanzania: These are Busia and Malaba, and Taveta-Hollili, namanga, and Lunga lunga-horo horo.
A pilot border post at Malaba on kenya`s border with Uganda has reportedly reduced cargo clearance from 2 days to just 2 hours.
The need to have a smooth and synchronized operation of these one stop border posts is crucial since its only one of a set of trade facilitation measures being put in place and the challenge is to avoid discrepancies. The other measures include but are not limited to the following: the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
The meeting noted that it takes a concerted effort to put in place a full package of measures, incentives and interventions from the public private partnerships (PPP) to create a friendly business climate that can spur and sustain growth that we are all seeking to lead us to prosperity. It is axiomatic that trade generates wealth and spurs a multiplier effect through which gains trickle down from the big commercial traders to the small and medium size enterprises. IGAD `s focus in this regard therefore is to play its bit in supporting and facilitating trade to bring down the costs of doing business along the value chain.
Right now businesses still incur high costs arising from NTBs-like weighbridges, roadblocks, poor infrastructure, unnecessary delays at border posts, lack of harmonized import and export standards, cumbersome procedures and documentation.
When all these are decisively addressed in favor of a friendly business climate then the issue of NTBs will have been addressed to a big extent.
This issue of streamlining one stop border posts assumes more significance when it is realized that a big number of our member states are land locked and have to depend on distant ports for their imports and exports.
For instance for Ethiopia almost 40% of the cost of importing goods is represented by the cost of just getting them from the port of Djibouti to Addis Ababa. The same case obtains for Mombasa to Kampala corridor.
Generally, the customs environment in the IGAD region is characterized by insecurity, violence, a proliferation of guns and lack of coordination among the multiple government agencies on either side of borders.
The study report was validated and the outcome is an action plan to prioritize some border posts and strengthen them to facilitate more trade across the borders.
For more information please contact:
Program Manager, Trade, Industry & Tourism,
IGAD Secretariat, Djibouti,