The Ministry of Works and Transport has Thursday handed over to tax body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) the newly constructed One Stop Post at the Elegu – Nimule border of Uganda and South Sudan.
The Elegu border is a major entry and exit point for traffic and cargo between Uganda and South Sudan with the largest volumes of goods and people crossing every day.
Minister for Trade, Amelia Kyambadde officiated at the handover ceremony which was attended by officials from the Ministry of Works, URA and Trade Mark East Africa and the government of South Sudan.
The new facility includes the freight building, gate house, power house, power supply, pump house, waste treatment plant, light vehicle inspection shade, wet cargo verification building, boundary wall, parking lots, soft landscaping and driveways.
According to government, the new facility will bring Customs and other government agencies from Uganda and South Sudan together, working from the same office to quicken export and imports while reducing costs of doing business.
Some of the government agencies that will have a desk at the post are: URA (customs department), Immigration department, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, National Drug Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, as well as commercial banks as well as security agencies.
The Minister for Trade, Amelia Kyambadde while speaking at the event asked the citizens in Uganda and South Sudan to maintain peace and to work towards development.
On his part, South Sudan’s Under Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industries and EAC Affairs, Mou Mou Athian Kuol commited on behalf of the government of South Sudan to ensure that Ugandan traders are not mistreated in South Sudan.
He said that the latest peace agreement in South Sudan is a good indicator for peace and security which are critical for trade facilitation between South Sudan and the East African Community.
Over the last five years, the value for exports through the Elegu border post grew from Shs 197.8bn to Shs 225.2bn, according to URA’s Commissioner for Customs, Kateshumbwa Dicksons.
The imports on the other hand grew from Shs 0.5bn to Shs 1.2bn. The transits through the same border grew from Shs 92bn to Shs 200bn.
On average, 200 trucks go through the Border Post every day in addition to about 12 buses that operate between Juba and Kampala.
URA says that now that Elegu OSBP is operational, clearance time with all government agencies will significantly reduce. The post will also facilitate cross border traders with a COMESA trade information desk.
A women traders’ office has also been established to cater for their unique needs.
“Next year, Non-intrusive Inspection Scanners will be installed at the border to curtail concealment and protect the society,” Kateshumbwa said.