Bugisu MPs want Lwakhakha upgraded to one-stop border post

MBALE – Bugisu Members of Parliament have urged government to transform Lwakhakha town council into a modern one-stop border post.

The legislators said it will increase Uganda’s competitiveness in the East African Community [EAC] as it will not only handle more of Uganda’s and the region’s exports and imports.

Bubulo East MPJohn Musila who doubles as vice chairman of Bugisu Cooperative Union Limited said the border market programme adopted by the National Development Plan [NDP] would work better if the Lwakhakha is modernised to handle more exports and imports for Uganda and other countries in the region.

“Lwakhakha would be suitable to work as a one-stop border post since there is already public land, that’s to say customs area, and other institutions, police station, and immigration offices,” Musila said.

Musila believes that elevating Lwakhakha to a one-stop border post will solve numerous issues such as congestion at both Busia and Malaba one-stop border posts.

“It will also decongest both Malaba and Busia borders, and more so present Uganda with an opportunity to supply countries such as Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Tanzania with agricultural produce, mainly food stuffs, but also manufactured goods, which will ultimately boost the economy of Uganda to greater heights,” he said.

Lwakhakha is 45 kilometers away from Mbale city, which is a regional business hub. About 1,200 empty trucks have been diverted from Busia and Malaba borders and now use Lwakhakha use to enter Kenya.

Manjiya County MP, John Baptist Nambeshe, said Lwakhakha is a fast-growing town.

“Lwakhakha is an international border. Upgrading it to a one-spot border post is long overdue,” Nambeshe, the opposition Chief Whip in parliament,” he said.

He told this reporter that the Bagisu MPs have joined hands to make sure it Lwakhakha border is upgraded.

Nambeshe said Lwakhakha is more important than any other official border that Uganda shares with Kenya.

“Lwakhakha is a shorter route to Kenya compared to Busia and Malaba in terms of mileage. It will also help to relieve the pressure of the other two borders [Busia and Malaba],” Nambeshe said.

The Namisindwa District Woman MP, Sarah Netalisire, said the government collects a lot of revenue along the Lwakhakha border.

“When you look at the revenue the government collects at Lwakhakha border and the number of trucks from Kenya that use this border, it tells you it should be upgraded,” Netalisile said.

Emma Bwayo, the Namisindwa district youth counselor, said Lwakhakha town council is growing so fast with the tarmacking of Bumbobi-Bubulo-Lwakhakha road and more so the diversion of existing tracks to pass via Lwakhakha following an inter-ministerial directive meant to decongest Malaba entry point.

“This has awoken the town to be one of the fastest developing towns in the region with business opportunities opening up every day,” Bwayo said, questioning why government has delayed to transform Lwakhakha into a modern international border.

Lwakhakha town council borders Bungoma County in  Kenya.

It served with the new Bumbobi-Lwakhakha road.

The road passes through 12 trading centres and three districts of Mbale, Manafwa, and Namisindwa. It is joined by the busy Bududa circular road.

The new road is expected to boost trade between Uganda and Kenya. Kenya is one of Uganda’s largest trading partners.

Uganda imports goods worth US$54.6m [Shs201bln] from Kenya. Exports receipts to Kenya in June 2020 increased from Shs101bln to Shs 122bln.

On the other hand, Kenya mainly imports agricultural products from Uganda such as maize and vegetables, among others. The country also imports from Uganda processed products such as sugar and milk.

Siraji Bin, a truck driver noted that the new road and an upgraded Lwakhakha border will enhance the capacity of small and medium enterprises in the region.

“It will enhance value addition and promotion of high-value exports to the regional markets; and increase employment among the border community youth, to mention but a few,” Bin said.

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