CUSTOMS QUARRELS AT BORDER HALT IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
Truck drivers at the border between Uganda and Kenya at Malaba have gone on strike and blocked traffic yesterday, halting the flow of goods between the two countries. According to reports the drivers were incensed by what they call arbitrary decisions by the Uganda Revenue Authority to impound trucks and fine drivers. The border post has in the past seen similar action, mostly over the physical state of the parking yards and facilities but also over alleged mishandling and corrupt practices by customs officials.
The East African Community has been promoting one stop border clearance and the business community has for long harboured hopes that with the onset of the zero rating of internal duty rates for goods manufactured within the EAC the internal borders could eventually come down but a range of non tariff barriers and disputes over the level of imported inputs in goods produced in East Africa have pushed this dream time and again into a distant future.
It could not be ascertained at the time of going to press for how long the drivers action will continue but it is understood that the police presence on both sides of the border had been stepped up to avoid any rowdy scenes develop which could impact on other road transport. Dozens of busses and hundreds of passenger cars are crossing the border on a daily basis at Malaba with the other major crossing point being at Busia, from where no such problems have been reported.