Traders decry hurdles at Gatuna
Sunday May 07 2023
The business community at Katuna border post in Kabale have appealed to Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, President Yoweri Museveni’s son, to further negotiate for the revival of cross-border trade between Rwanda and Uganda.
This comes at a time when a section of leaders from Kigezi, led by the Kabale District chairperson Nelson Nshangabasheija are planning a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the re-opening of Katuna border.
The function was to be held at Kigezi High School lower playground in Kabale Town, where Gen Kainerugaba is expected to be the guest of honor.
Rwanda border of Gatuna, which is adjacent to Katuna in Kabale, was closed for three years as the government of Rwanda claimed that they were working on the one-stop border post, but later claimed that Uganda was hosting its enemies.
Last year in March, the Gatuna border post was reopened for cargo trucks and passenger vehicles after Gen Kainerugaba negotiated with President Paul Kagame.
The chairperson of Katuna Traders Association Franko Korinako said although the border was reopened, Rwandans were not allowed to cross to Uganda to buy household items.
“Although we appreciate that the border was reopened for cargo and passenger vehicles, as traders at Katuna border post we appeal to Gen Kainerugaba to further negotiate for the revival of cross border trade so that the Rwandan authorities can allow their citizens in the border community to freely enter Uganda to buy household items as it used to be,” Mr Korinako said.
A section of clearing agents at Katuna border post in Kabale also decried the restrictions involved in exporting local goods from Uganda into Rwanda and called up on authorities to intervene.
Vice chairperson of Katuna Border Clearing Agents Association Stephen Kiwanuka, appealed to the Ugandan government to decentralise services of document processing to allow easy exportation of perishable goods.
“Before being allowed to export local produce such as Irish Potatoes and other perishable goods to Rwanda through the Katuna/Gatuna border, a local trader was required to get an export permit and certificate of analysis from Kampala, which are not easy to get.
We appeal for simplified local export entry like it’s done on Malaba and Busia borders for traders that export local produce to Kenya. The single customs tertiary entry demanded at Gatuna border post by the Rwandan officials is not favoring local traders,” Mr Kiwanuka said.