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EAC moves to ease cross-border movement

BUSINESS
By - | Apr 12th 2013 | 2 min read
By - | April 12th 2013
BUSINESS

By Luke Anami

The East African Community (EAC) has drafted a law that will operationalise the One-Stop-Border-Post (OSBP) to ease free movement of goods and people.

The OSBP Bill 2012 is to be debated in the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) next week in Kigali, Rwanda. It is expected to streamline traffic across borders by reducing time taken  to cross from one country to another.

The Bill outlines, among others, the conduct of border controls, application of criminal laws, conduct of officers manning the OSBPs and provision and harmonisation of facilities in the control zones.

Others are institutional arrangements of the OSBPs and dispute resolution.  Eala is also set to debate EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill 2012. But the new EAC laws will have to be harmonised with the national laws of each partner State.

“It will streamline traffic crossing the border towards one direction by ensuring it stops only once for border clearance instead of stopping on one side of the border,” Chiboli Shakaba, PS ministry of EAC said at a workshop to validate the two bills.

“The first side will be for outward clearance with immigration, customs and other agencies, and then on the second side for inward clearance.”

 The law is expected to reduce the time spent to cross the borders and weigh bridges between Kenya and Rwanda, estimated to be 19 hours.

Over 24 OSBPs are under construction within the five EAC countries with support from Trade Mark East Africa, Japanese International cooperation Agency among other donors. 

Eala legislator Joseph Kiangoi cautioned that the law should have an implementation time frame, while the EAC Director of Infrastructure Philip Wambugu allayed fears that two border posts at Suam (Kenya-Uganda border) and Oloitoktok were not named in the schedule.

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