, KIGALI, Rwanda, Apr 24 – The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed the One Stop Border Posts Bill 2012, paving way for it to become regional law if assented to by the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State.
The object of the Bill, initiated by the EAC Council of Ministers, is to provide for the establishment of One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) in the region in order to facilitate trade through the efficient movement of goods and people within EAC.
Under the arrangement, partner states shall implement one stop border processing arrangements by establishing and designating control zones at the respective border posts.
The Bill in addition, seeks to extend partner states’ national laws relating to border control officers to allow them to move freely within the controlled zone(s) in the performance of their duties, without producing passports, but by simply using their appropriate identity.
The Bill makes provision for the application of border control laws and provides for institutional arrangements in the coordination and monitoring of the one stop border posts.
Common Border posts designated in the EAC as One Stop Border Posts include the Taveta-Holili border and the Namanga border between Kenya and Tanzania, Busia and Malaba border between Kenya and Uganda and the Kanyaru-Akanyaru border between Burundi and Rwanda.
Others are the Mutukula border between Tanzania and Uganda, Gasenyi-Nemba border between Burundi and Rwanda and Lungalunga-Horohoro border between Kenya and Tanzania.
Debate on the Bill was preceded by the tabling of a Report of the Committee on Communications, Trade and Investment presented by the chairperson Dan Kidega in Rwanda.
The report underscores the need for partner states to develop, upgrade and modernize the required infrastructural facilities and to enhance technological advancement to enable efficient and effective implementation of the Bill.
The Bill successfully sailed through the second reading with amendments during the Committee Stage before it was passed for its third reading.