The government of Kenya has encouraged China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), the Chinese contractor in charge of the construction of the Suam One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) to expedite the Kenya-Ugandan border project, the construction of which began in April 2021.
This was revealed by Mr. Samson Ojwang, Trans Nzoia County Commissioner, when he visited the project site in the company of other County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) members.
Mr. Ojwang expressed dissatisfaction with the contractor, accusing him of derailing the project whose primary goal is to open up commercial activity at the border. “The contractor has been issued a mandate to complete the project, which is already behind schedule, by June,” affirmed the Trans Nzoia County Commissioner.
Reasons for the delay
Mr. Xu Chuanjuvi of CSCEC blamed the delay on a labor shortage. Mr. Ojwang on the other hand said that CDICC had summoned the architect to guarantee that all necessary staff was hired, and called upon government entities to be directly involved in the project so as to guarantee that tents are pitched on the ground to expedite completion.
The approximately US$ 879,575 OSBP, funded partly by the African Development Bank (ADB), when finished would contain customs, immigration, and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), as well as security offices and a contemporary market center.
The project is integrated with the ongoing upgrade of the 45-kilometer Kitale-Suam motorway at a cost of close to US$ 39.6M. Traders and citizens are optimistic that the OSBP would increase commercial activity in the region.
Kenya and Uganda to upgrade the Suam border point
The governments of Kenya and Uganda are set to upgrade the Suam border point as they aim to ease pressure on Busia and Malaba borders. According to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) regional customs manager James Malinzi, the move is aimed at developing the capacity to control the borders.
The project which is done in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has already seen Kenya start construction of the Kitale – Suam border while Uganda is in the completion stages of constructing a road towards the border point.
Expected benefits of the Suam One-Stop Border Post
The aim of the project is to enhance revenue collection in eastern Uganda according to Mr. Malinzi who noted that once complete it will curb smuggling, evasion of tax and reduce the time taken to clear goods between the two nations.
Jica will provide equipment for the border point to boost patrols as well as training of staff from both countries to ease the clearing of goods. This comes after the two countries launched the Busia one-stop border post in 2018 having been funded by the Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) at an estimated cost of US $12m with money coming from the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and the Global Affairs Canada.
Uganda and Kenya share a long border stretching from Lake Victoria to Karamoja and River Nile. However, the Malaba and Busia border controls over 80% of goods that enter Uganda, DR Congo, and Burundi. Suam border post is expected to ease pressure on the two border points once works are complete.
Jica’s chief representation of Uganda Mr. Yutaka Fukase on his side added that the Japanese government is committed to developmental assistance in area health, agriculture, education, and human development at the grass-root level to improve production and productivity.