State closes illegal export routes along Kenya-Ethiopia border

The government has closed two feeder roads in Moyale to curb smuggling of goods along the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

The move follows concern by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that most exporters and importers from both countries do not pay taxes after evading the one-stop border posts.

Traders use Sesse feeder road located metres away from the customs and police offices and Biashara street, about a kilometre away.

Senior KRA officials recently met with sub-county security committee team, traders and local elected leaders to sensitise them on the need to use the one-stop border post and pay the requisite taxes.

Between 30 and 50 trucks export goods to Ethiopia daily but few passes through the official exit point.

After completion of the 536km all-weather road, Kenya and Ethiopia put up a one-stop border post at Sh500 million each to ease trade.

Kenyan traders export second-hand clothes, jerrycans, mattresses, blankets, soap, cooking oil and juices among others while imports include cement, beans, and cereals like maize, rice, wheat, fuel, and petroleum products.

Sources at KRA in Moyale indicated that they lose an average Sh30 million in revenue daily.

Moyale Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Mumali told Sunday Standard that the Sesse and Biashara Street feeder roads have now been closed and all traders will use the official entry and exit points.

Trenches have been dug to prevent the trucks from using the two illegal routes.

‘‘We have closed the roads at Sesse and Biashara street and security teams are working closely with KRA and immigration officials to patrol the illegal entry points,’’ said Mr Mumali.

The administrator said they have arrested two foreigners charged with being in possession of 1,991 bullets and AK-47.

He warned traders found using illegal routes of legal action.

However, to beat security some traders hire labourers to ferry goods on foot at night through Heilu across the border where they are later loaded on to trucks for export to Ethiopia.

Traders are using illegal routes in Sololo and Uran in Moyale and Forolle and Dukana in North Horr.

Marsabit County Assembly deputy Speaker Sora Huka and MCA John Dawe Killo (Heille-Manyatta ward) said closure of feeder roads has affected small scale traders.

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