National Government asked to fulfill its promises ahead of official launch of One Stop Border Post
Busia County Government has appealed to the National Government to give an assurance that it would fulfill the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Defunct Local Authorities ahead of the official launch of the Busia Kenya -Uganda One Stop Border Post (OSBP) on Saturday.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting in a hotel in Busia on Monday, Mayenje MCA, David Luyemba said an agreement was made with the defunct local Authorities that a trailer Park and Bus Park would be constructed for the locals as the facility was put in place.
“If I had authority, I would have told President Uhuru not to come and commission the OSBP until he gives an assurance on the Memorandum of Understanding,” he said urging the County Commissioner to tell the President to give an assurance that the two parks would be constructed.
Luyemba noted with concern that Kenya Revenue Authority was blocking revenue collectors from raising funds from Busia and Malaba Borders.
“How will our County Government grow if we are not allowed to collect revenue?” he asked.
He proposed that fish mongers should be allowed to have structures along the buffer zone since they do not have enough space for trade.
Malaba Central MCA Bernard Papa argued that local residents had not realized the importance of OSBP adding that EAC should establish an office where locals could articulate their grievances.
“That office should listen to our grievance and ensure their implementation” he said.
Papa noted that Malaba border was still in a pathetic state six years after its inception adding that residents were not benefiting from Corporate Social Responsibility.
Burumba MCA, Moses Ochieng on his part urged the National Government to come up with a modern parking authorized by the KRA to enable the County Government increase its revenue streams.
Ochieng pointed out that the County’s revenue collection reduced by Sh200 million after the restriction placed by KRA.
He further said that the hotel Industry has suffered a great deal because all truck drivers cross to the Ugandan side to seek services.
“Let the National Government honor their pledge to come up with a modern parking authorized by KRA,” he said,
The MCA noted with concern that people were still smuggling zero rated goods as much as the procedures have been simplified hence need for more sensitization.
“Let us empower them by giving them information so that they can have ownership of the facility that we have,” he said.
Ochieng further argued that the local clearing and forwarding was worst affected by the presence of the OSBP.
“At least 70% of the goods we used to handle were locally manufactured from the East African Community. At the moment we have a new concept of the single customs territory which does the work. Yes we accept that trade is inevitable but do we help these great men with families to feed?” he asked.
He urged the National Government to give Busia County an additional vote-head to cater for an extra 30% of Ugandans who share its facilities.
“A good example is our Referral hospital where 30% of patients being treated are from Uganda but we cannot chase them because the law does not allow yet they are eating into our small allocation meant for Busia residents,” he said.
He at the same time asked the National government to alocate the County Equalization Fund since it could no longer collect revenue from Cess and trailer park due to the East African Integration law that do not allow double taxation.
In a quick rejoinder, Busia Deputy County Commissioner, Fredrick Ayieko promised to forward the concerns of Busia leaders and residents especially on parks and markets to the Cabinet Secretary Interior Dr. Fred Matiang’i.
Ayieko called upon the residents to come out in large numbers and welcome Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) on Saturday as they commission the important facility.
By Salome Alwanda