The One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Nimule international cross border town has been opened to boost efficient trade between Uganda and South Sudan.
The US$ 5 million, approximately 18.3 million Uganda Shillings’ facility was on Thursday handed over to the Government of South Sudan by TradeMark East Africa.
It is expected to reduce congestion that has been causing slow movements of people and goods; poor border design, insufficient technical equipment, duplicated border procedures and non-coordination of the border agencies among others.
The facility has a modern office block to house various government agencies involved in cross border trade that includes; Customs, Immigration, Bureau of Standards, Security Agencies, Ministry of Trade and Health and clearing agents.
With South Sudan’s insecurity, movement of humanitarian aid was greatly hampered and was compounded by delays in clearance of goods that resulted into irregular supply of basic commodities to the local population.
According to Rebeca Cunnyua, a trader in Nimule, the border post is expected to boost women traders burdened by years of insurgency to rapidly continue expanding their businesses for sustainable livelihoods.
Dr James Igga, South Sudan’s Vice President noted that the modern border crossing would greatly speed up cargo clearance and improve service delivery to citizens of South Sudan and the business community.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives. , Amelia Kyambadde, noted that the improved border post would greatly enhance economic ties between the two East African Countries for sustainable development.
South Sudan is a key market for Uganda’s exports, accounting for USD 239.2 million in 2016, it rose to USD 299.3 million in 2017 and in 2018 it stood at USD 365.9 million according to figures provided by the Uganda Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
John Bosco Kalisa, the South Sudan Country Representative for TradeMark East Africa observed that the improved Nimule OSBP shall not only contribute towards trade enhancement but also a cornerstone for the rebuilding of the conflict area.
The Nimule OSBP project was funded by UK’s Department for International Development – DFID through TradeMark East Africa and undertaken in partnership with the South Sudan Ministry of Transport.
Since 2010 to date, through its donors, TradeMark East Africa in partnership with the East African Community has invested over US$ 117 million in the upgrading of 15 One-Stop Border Posts and access roads across the region of East Africa.
The border posts include; Busia, Malaba, Holili and Taveta (Uganda-Kenya); Kagitumba and Mirama Hills (Uganda-Rwanda), Mutukula (Ugandan –Tanzania), Kobero and Kabanga (Burundi-Tanazania) and Tunduma in Zambia.
The intervention by TradeMark East Africa has resulted in an average 70 percent reduction in time it takes to cross select borders and 26 percent cost reduction of transporting 40-foot container along key corridors in the region.