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Construction of Katuna one stop border point resumes

Minister of State for Finance, David Bahati said Shs7b for the project. (FILE PHOTO)

KATUNA – Government has resumed construction of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Katuna, Uganda’s main gateway to Rwanda.

The project had started in 2014 with funds expected to be provided by World Bank and Government of Uganda and the work to be completed in one year. However, WB later pulled out over alleged breach of contract, and the construction stopped.

State minister for Planning David Bahati said last week that the government is funding the project. It secured Shs7 billion and will be providing the remaining Shs8 billion.

“Government has secured Shs 7 billion out of the Shs 15 billion required for the construction of the one stop border at Katuna.

Construction has already resumed and government is looking for the Shs8 billion required to complete the work,” Mr Bahati said.

The work is expected to be completed in December. Amugoli General Enterprises Ltd was awarded the contract in July 2014 but later stopped working because of non-payment.

Managing Director Amugoli General Enterprises Ltd Mr Joseph Eyatu said last week, “We are back on the site and the works are progressively going on well.”

Kabale district LCV chairman Mr Patrick Besigye Keihwa said on Friday that OSBP will facilitate quick clearing of goods and create employment for Ugandans.

“It is our wish that the construction of this one-stop border post is completed as soon as possible so that the traders can get the desired services. There is need for close supervision to ensure that there is value for money on this multi-billion project,” Mr Keihwa said.

The Mayor for Katuna Town Council Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija said that construction works resumed in November (last year) and the work seems to be going on well. “We are extremely happy and grateful to the government for raising the funds. I am sure once the infrastructure has been completed our town council will look nice and beautiful. The stalled buildings had made our town council look ugly,” Mr Nshangabasheija said.

He asked the government to intervene in the harassment of Ugandan traders in Rwanda. Mr Nshangabasheija said Mr Denis Karyamagwaki, a money changer at Katuna border was arrested from the Rwanda side of Katuna on December 20 for unknown reasons and released the following day but his working capital in millions of shillings was taken.

Mid last year Mr Justus Tweyogyere alias Mwana Muto,  a money changer,  was also arrested by the Rwandan authorities in a similar way only to be released after his Ugandan colleagues staged a peaceful demonstration.

Responding to the concern Mr Bahati assured the traders at Katuna border post that the Uganda government through the ministries of foreign affairs, and trade is arranging to meet the Rwanda government to harmonize cross border trade and streamline the security of members of the business community.

At OSBP officials of government agencies in both countries operate under one roof. They include immigration workers, revenue officials, and national bureau of standards officials, police and ministry of agriculture officials. OSBP checks duplication of work, and delays in clearing, reduces cost of doing business, makes collection of revenue faster and facilitates sharing of information. Other OSBP are Busia and Malaba on Uganda border with Kenya, Mirama-Kagitumba on Uganda border with Rwanda and Mutukula on Uganda border with Tanzania.

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