The modification of five of Kenya’s one-stop border posts, aimed at easing the movement of goods within East Africa, is almost complete. However, the government acknowledges it is facing challenges in maintaining and constructing new roads.
According to a status report released by the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry, the Lunga Lunga border post is 85 per cent complete, the Isebania one is at 79 per cent, while Busia, Malaba and Taveta posts are at 70 per cent, 75 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. The Namanga border lags behind at 15 per cent.
The report said that budgetary constraints, high capital cost for infrastructure development, fluctuations in the foreign currencies, VAT and huge development and maintenance backlog are impeding the development of the posts.
The one-stop border post concept is aimed at harmonising transit clearance, with two officers from bordering countries handling transit documents concurrently in order to save on time and costs.
Corruption has been cited by traders as a major challenge alongside theft, as trucks await clearance at the border posts.
The report comes as Kenya faces criticism for delaying the development of the Holili/Taveta border post, due to a delay in signing a bilateral agreement with Tanzania.
Construction of the Holili one stop border post on the Tanzania side was completed in December last year, but the Kshh490 million ($5.7 million) structure has remained idle for three months as it waits for Kenya. The border is meant to reduce the time it takes to clear cargo by 30 per cent.
“The Holili border point serves about 50 trucks a day but the volume of traffic is likely to increase to between 400 to 450 trucks once the Voi-Taveta part of the road is upgraded,” said Theo Lyimo, Trademark East Africa director, Integrated Border Management and One Stop Border Posts.
The ministry said the one-stop border posts are among the infrastructural projects that have been affected by the implementation of the VAT Act 2013.
The burden on the government includes additional provision required for the ministry to cover the VAT element. Inadequate capacity at both national and county levels, encroachment and vandalism of road infrastructure and road safety challenges were also cited.