Senior tax officials from Rwanda and Burundi, over the weekend, signed a memorandum of understanding to operationalise the one border post at Nemba in Bugesera District.
The deal was signed at the Nemba border post by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General, Ben Kagarama Bahizi and his Burundian counterpart, Kieran Holmes of Burundi Revenue Authority.
The development is expected to bolster trade across borders and reduce the time spent on clearing at the border posts.
Under the one border post, travellers will access services at one spot unlike in the past when documents were processed at two locations in both countries.
“It will reduce the number of stops by combining border control activities of the two countries at a single location,” Kagarama noted.
The RRA boss added that it would lead to greater inter-agency and cross-border cooperation between the two countries.
He urged the business community from the two countries and other East African Community member states to take advantage of the economic reforms being introduced in the region, to fully enjoy the benefits of economic integration.
On his part, Holmes also stressed that the one stop border concept would reduce the time spent by traders and other travellers in clearing their documents.
He observed that the objective of the two EAC member countries in facilitating trade at Nemba has been achieved.
“Harmonisation of customs and border operations is key in the regional integration process…by removing barriers and reducing the cost of doing business,” Holmes noted.
Under the deal, the two countries will also share border control data that is useful in border operations through the use of Information and Communication Technology.
Other areas of cooperation include conducting of joint technical training of border control officers so as to achieve common levels of conceptual understanding of the one stop border post operations.
Eugene Higiro, the private sector representative in Bugesera District welcomed the development, saying that traders were facing unnecessary delays in processing documents.
The establishment of the one border post at Nemba will be followed by another at Kagitumba at the Rwanda-Uganda border and Rusumo at the Rwanda-Tanzania border.
All the initiatives are being jointly undertaken by sister revenue authorities within the EAC bloc to significantly reduce the cost of doing business by removing existing trade barriers.
The establishment of the one stop border post at Gasenyi 1/Nemba border post is financed by the African Development Bank.