National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has called on residents of the upper eastern region at the Kenya-Ethiopia border to take advantage of recently established One Stop Border Point (OSBP) in Moyale to boost trade between Kenya and Ethiopia.
Outlining initiatives that include facilitating trade between the two countries, and ensuring high levels of tax compliance among the traders in the region, the CS said that the modern facility (which is among other six in the country) was underutilized. In an attempt to seal the gap, residents in this region should make use of the facility for their good and the good of both Kenya and Ethiopia, he said.
“We should see more trade volumes passing through the OSBP at Moyale,” said Yatani. Unfortunately, we are not witnessing this… there is a potential for additional revenue collection in this region hence, the government shall establish more OSBPs along the common border with Ethiopia to facilitate trade and ensure collection of more revenue.”
The CS, who was accompanied by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) board of directors led by chairman Francis Muthaura, KRA commissioners and Interior Ministry officials in a tour of the Moyale OSBP in Marsabit County, added that the Government was keen on working towards full implementation of an agreement on free trade earlier agreed between the two countries.
The CS also directed KRA to convene regular multi-agency meetings, which should be attended by stakeholders among them community leaders to address issues that may have led to the underutilization of the OSBP.
He also encouraged the Authority to conduct more stakeholder sensitizations in the region to enable the communities living at the border have better understanding of taxation and need for compliance.
“This will ensure that any misunderstandings that may exist between KRA and stakeholders are solved amicably to boost compliance,” he noted.
Besides, KRA Commissioner of Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari asked traders to make optimal use of the Moyale OSBP. Mr Safari said it is important for the business community and residents to appreciate that the OSBP is key in facilitating trade and ensuring safety of cargo movement at the border point. “Movement of goods across the borders in undesignated crossing points amounts to smuggling,” he said.
The OSBP concept has reduced barriers to trade and improved business competitiveness. At the OSBPs, KRA has put in place measures such as installation of scanners and intelligence aided verification of cargo to address mis-declarations, concealments, and substandard cargo.