New era as one-stop-post starts at Tanzania and Kenya border
One-Stop-Border Post (OSBP) means placing border officials of two adjoining countries at each other’s adjoining border post so that each border post controls only the traffic entering the country and not the exiting one.
Tanzania and Kenya have OSBP system at Holili-Taveta. Of late the post has produced desired results by reducing 30 per cent.
The Holili border currently serves between 40 and 50 trucks a day but the volume of traffic is likely tosignificantly increase up to between 400 and 450 trucks once the Voi -Taveta part of the road is upgraded. This is according to Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) that funded the project.
The increase in traffic is likely because the distance by road from Mombasa to Himo junction in Tanzania is much shorter (by about 472 kilometres) compared to the much longer distance from Dar es Salaam to Himo junction (935 kilometres).
Journalists from Tanzania and Kenya who visited Holili and Taveta witnessed a handful of trucks from Mombasa port offloading goods, including the cars for clients from Northern Regions of Tanzania.
The introduced system will take place at the border post of Taveta in Kenya and Holili border post in Tanzania, of which the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Tanzania Revenue authority (TRA) are the leading agencies in implementing the project.
The OSBP project is funded by the Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) and the operation of the system to the funded area will start immediately after the signing of bilateral agreement.
At the end of lat year the media visited the project at Taveta in Kenya along the Voi road and about 285 kilometers from Mombasa. The Holili building is completed while the one for Taveta is expected to be ready by the end of May.
Theo Lymo, a Trademark Director of Integrated Boarder Management based in Nairobi said the time reduction in clearing cargo will in turn increase in intra-regional and foreign trade in East Africa.
Lymo said the main aspect of the OSBP concept is that traffic crossing the border stops once instead of stopping at the border post of exit for formalities and at the border-post of entry for entry formalities.
“One stop is achieved by placing the border officials of two adjoining countries at each other’s adjoining border post so that each border post controls only the traffic entering the country and not that exiting,” he elaborated
He added that exit formalities of the exit country and the entry formalities of the country are carried out at the border post in the country of entry and the Traffic to either direction will thus bypass the exit border post and go directly to the border post of entry in the other country.
The system will start as soon as bilateral agreements are signed. Tanzania has already finished with the text, and in Kenya the matter has been submitted to the cabinet for approval.
According to TMEA, OSBP projects on each side of the border are completely independent of each other. This means that OSBP arrangements can start only when construction on both sides is completed.
However, border agencies have decided that once construction on one side is completed one stop controls should start on a pilot basis.
This will enable the two countries concerned to reap the benefits of OSBP arrangements before construction on both sides is completed.
In this regard three pairs of OSBPs are expected to implement one stop arrangements by June 2014: Holili-Taveta OSBPs will be fully operational by June 2014 as construction on both sides will have been completed.
The Holili OSBP has been fully furnished: all the furniture is in place, computers have been delivered and installed with the software of the agencies concerned, and wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs) have been installed and tested.
It has been agreed with JICA that their Real Time Monitoring (RTM) and Cargo Clearing Systems, which would enable border agencies at the OSBP to share data, will be rolled out to the Holili-Taveta OSBPs following the piloting of the systems at the border posts of Namanga.
Given the poor condition of border posts in the region, the introduction of OSBPs also carry out upgrading and modernising parking for trucks and office accommodation, and provision of inspection sheds and special facilities required by border agencies, such as ramps for offloading vehicles from trucks or containers, animal holding buildings, incinerators and isolation rooms for people with notifiable diseases.
Speaking during the visit, TMEA Director of OSBP Sjorerd Visser said the project at the side of Holili, Tanzania, has been completed since December last year, costing $ 5.7 million, the same amount being spent by TMEA for Taveta-Kenya project which is in progress.
Sjored noted that TMEA is providing funding and technical support to facilitate implementation of integrated border management system jointly with border agencies.
The project focuses on setting up institutional and legal frameworks necessary for increasing collaboration in boarder management at inter-agency and bilateral levels, reviewing and implementing one stop border post procedures, training boarder agency officials and installing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) networks, hardware, furniture and equipment.
Integrated Border Management (IBM) is a framework for increasing collaboration among agencies responsible for border controls. The IBM framework is useful for establishing OSBPs as it lays down areas of collaboration among border agencies. It is also useful as tool for bringing together agencies with a stake in border controls.
For the OSBPs of Holili (Tanzania) and Taveta (Kenya), for example, about thirty ministries, departments and agencies are involved.
However, in a 30 minutes tour inside the Holili border post building the media personnel witnessed a number of facilities. Daniel Muturi, a Programme Manager for Integrated Boarder Management (IBM) showed media how the offices will be used by officials from both sides of the country, the same system which will be applied at the Taveta border post.
The building consist double offices for officials from Tanzania, for example, the Immigration or TRA officers and counterparts -Kenya Immigration and KRA.
Meanwhile, Mombasa-Voi-Taveta-Arusha road is one of the alternative transport corridors in East Africa that link the northern corridors at Voi,160 kilometres to the central corridor at Dodoma and Singida via Arusha.
Efficient movement of goods and people through the two border posts is critical to facilitate trade within the region.
After full implementation of OSBP arrangements or implementation on a pilot basis, a tentative survey of clearance times will be carried out, together with a user satisfaction survey.
However, the IBM project will continue for another six months to enable TMEA to support review of OSBP procedures and processes with a view to their simplification or integration where feasible. At the end of the period, a final survey of traffic and clearance times will be carried out and the project closed.
TMEA will work with border agencies and other development partners like JICA and IOM to take care of the training needs of border officials. It will support training needs assessment at border posts to establish the institutional and personal needs of border officials.
Training will include OSBP induction courses for border officials and CFAs. Border agencies have also pointed out the need for all border officials to be familiarized with the responsibilities of all border agencies and how they work at the border.
Officials agencies at the border will need short training on Microsoft applications, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. All officials will also benefit from training in Risk Management in cross border clearance and in security risk assessment.
Meanwhile, Traders who import goods from various countries have called up on the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to modernise their system used in clearing cargo so as to reduce the cost incurring by traders for waiting documents from TRA.
On Tuesday, this paper interviewed a number of traders at the Holili-Taveta. They claimed they wait for up to one month for documents from TRA headquarters because of ‘slowness’ of the system used.
Emanuel Justin (36) a Moshi resident and traders who import goods via Holili-Taveta border post told this paper that, for the cargo to be released they have to wait for their documents from TRA headquarters in Dar es Salaam for clearance. Said Justin said: “But we spend a lot of time for waiting feedback and when we query why the delay they tell us to be patient because the system is down.
“We spend a lot of money to import goods for profit but instead we suffer much at the border, spend more money on accommodation… we thereby lose and this is disappointing us.”
John Vuo (33), a driver who uses Holili-Taveta boarder post expressed disappointment. “I came here on Sunday last week (March 23), I have been told to wait for government permission for my cargo to be released as they said the system is slow.”
Meanwhile some of traders have raised their concern over the cargo owners who delayed to take their cargo.
Rashid Bakari (26) told The Guardian that sometimes they wait for two weeks at the boarder for the cargo owners.
Bakari said that truck drivers did not know the owners as most of them were known by the clearing and forward agencies, adding that most of traders who importing goods used to shunting the cargo at the border.
It is so because it is expensive for the truck from outside the country to get in another country. He proposed the government should put a new law that will force the owners to shunt their cargo as in the case with Kenya.