Effective next week on October 15, Rwanda and Uganda will be fully utilizing the newly built Kagitumba-Mirama Hills One Stop Border Post (OSBP) that links the two countries in Eastern part of Rwanda.
A public notice issued today by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) indicates that the new development is triggered by the newly completed $22 million Ntungamo-Mirama road project.
“In order to decongest Katuna station, we wish to encourage exporters, importers and the travelling public to make use of the Mirama Hills OSBP as an alternative route,” the statement said.
“URA customs will work with Rwanda Revenue Authority to do the mandatory diversion of some of the traffic in order to relieve Katuna,” adds the statement.
Last month, officials from both countries travelled to the border of Kagitumba to officially launch the new tarmac road which will connect the two East African countries.
This, according to traders, clears a long standing blockage caused by the old and pot-holed roads on the Ugandan side through Kagitumba.
“This has been a stumbling block to the use of this route (Kagitumba). It has not been the right option to use this route,” Mike Karenzi, a Rwandan businessman told KT Press.
The distance from Kigali to Kampala by Road is 516 Km through Katuna, while the driving distance from Kigali-Kampala distance through Kagitumba road is 508 km.
According to Uganda Revenue Authority, though, the newly completed Mirama Hills-Ntungamo road will make the one-Stop Border Post more ‘effective and efficient’.
The tax body called travellers and transporters to comply with the new measure with ‘immediate effect’.
Currently, Katuna border handles between 2000 and 2200 travellers (both entries and exits), while 800-900 travellers (both entries & exits) use Kagitumba – Mirama hills One Stop Border Post on a daily basis, according to data from the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.
With the new development at Kagitumba border, traffic is expected to significantly increase as new transport companies started plans to use the route.
Speaking to KT Press, Olivier Nzeyimana – Proprietor of Volcano Express – a Rwandan-based Public Transport service provider with presence in Uganda, said a new plan to open Kigali-Kagitumba-Kampala route is in the pipeline.
“Despite good news from Uganda Revenue Authority to operate 24 hours at Kgatumba-Mirama Hills One Stop Border Post, we have been finalising plans to open a new route there. The plan was triggered by our clients from Easter part of the country,” Nzeyimana told KT Press.
Volcano Express and Trinity are the only local transport companies with presence in the neighbouring Uganda.