Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Ms Lilian Nyawanda
Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Ms Lilian Nyawanda. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is banking on the construction of a major road connecting the horn of Africa countries to promote legitimate trade, as well as collect correct taxes from cross-border trade in the region. The road, under the banner Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project (HoAGDP), was launched in Isiolo town.

The road connects Kenya to Somalia and to Ethiopia. The Isiolo-Mandera regional road corridor- the primary project area – traverses the North Eastern counties of Isiolo, Meru, Wajir, Mandera and Garissa.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have long and porous common borders, with many potential locations for developing border posts to facilitate cross-border trade.  KRA plans to establish One-stop Border Posts (OSBPs) at the common land borders of Kenya and Ethiopia at Rhamu and Kenya and Somalia at Mandera. The establishment of the OSBPs is expected to spur growth in import and export trade, and thus give KRA an opportunity to facilitate legitimate trade and collect the correct revenue. Additionally, there will be an establishment of a trade facilitation centre at Suftu as well as the construction of two bridges to facilitate the movement of goods and persons across the borders.

Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Ms Lilian Nyawanda said that KRA’s role is to facilitate faster movement of goods (imports and exports) and persons at the Kenya/Ethiopia border, facilitate cross-border trade between Kenya and Somalia (upon opening of the borders), electronically monitor cargo along the Isiolo-Mandera route, secure cargo along the route and simplify cross- border trade between Kenya and neighbouring countries.

On specific activities, Commissioner Nyawanda said that upon completion of the road, KRA through Customs will operationalize the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) to facilitate trade between Kenya and neighbouring countries and geo-fence the Isiolo-Mandera Route to facilitate electronic monitoring of cargo along the route. Additionally, KRA will establish Rapid Response Unit (RRU) Offices along the route to complement the electronic cargo tracking system.

Other KRA initiatives along the new road, according to Commissioner Nyawanda include; installation of Cargo Surveillance Systems, installation of Smart Gates at Rhamu and Mandera OSBP, deployment of enforcement equipment like Surveillance drones, Motor Vehicles and D**g detection equipment.

The Horn of Africa (HoA), comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia is growing quickly, with the population expected to reach 250 million by 2030. The HoA initiative offers opportunities to transform the economies of the region through creating an enabling environment for developing their existing potential.

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