The national government is finalising plans to establish another border entry point in Marsabit County in addition to the gazzetted Moyale one-stop border point to facilitate trade and free movement of people between Kenya and Ethiopia.
The idea, which was significantly supported and endorsed by the county government of Marsabit during a consultative meeting with the Border Control and Operation Coordination Committee (BCOCC) yesterday, also seeks to control diseases and stem smuggling along the porous border.
Border Management Secretariat (BMS) Director Kennedy Nyaiyo disclosed that the government has plans to open up 26 new points of entry and exit with its neighbours out of which five would be along the border with Ethiopia.
“Our 897-kilometer border stretch with Ethiopia is served by only one border point at Moyale which cannot adequately take care of the huge trade potential that exists,” said Nyaiyo.
The BMS director said that the government, which has a free trade agreement with Ethiopia was exploring the potential that areas like Forole (Marsabit), Siftu and Malkamari (Wajir) Rhamu (Mandera) and Todanyang (Turkana) on the over 800 kilometres stretch, with the aim of developing them into one-stop border points (OSBPs).
Nyaiyo added that the prospective for growth in economic, security and infrastructure scopes was great besides boosting the revenue base for both levels of government the cost of doing business would be minimized.
The BCOCC whose membership comprises representatives from BMS, KEBS, border control and enforcement, KRA, the State Department for Livestock, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, Immigration Department among others would be visiting Forole and Illeret areas to ascertain their suitability for an OSBP.
The team that was received by Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo informed the local leadership that mapping of livestock movement routes would be carried out to ensure animal disease control was eff3ctively managed.
The regulation of animal trade and movement would also ensure legal fees were paid for the trade as opposed to the current situation where donkeys are ferried all the way to Kabarnet from Ethiopia for slaughter without any inspection.
The deputy governor termed the proposal to start a border point at Forole as noble and welcomed by the people of Marsabit County adding that land would be readily available to facilitate the establishment of the facility.
Gubo said the move would check on the current informal trade along the border which denied the government the much-needed revenue and called for scaling up of security installation at the designated points.
The deputy governor added that enhancement of sources of income for local communities would greatly bolster harmony and the peaceful coexistence of residents as competition for resources would be reduced.
On his part, County Commissioner Evans Achoki said security was a focal point in the whole arrangement as it would help in checking the entry of illegal immigrants, drug and human trafficking.
Achoki called for patriotism among Kenyans and urged the residents of Marsabit to continue supporting efforts by law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime particularly terrorism and drug trafficking.
He pointed out that uncontrolled entry and exit of people as well as trade along the border was not healthy for the country due to loss of revenue, spread of diseases and influx of counterfeits.
“Increased border points will reduce barriers to trade between these two countries that are set to jointly construct the facilities,” he said.