Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Revenue Authority-URA lost over fourteen billion shillings in revenue collections owing to the three-year closure of the Uganda-Rwanda border post of Katuna.
Rwanda on Monday this week fully reopened its land borders with Uganda.
The Rwandan authorities had partially reopened the border on January 31. Rwandan President Paul Kagame had closed the borders on February 27, 2019, accusing Uganda of hosting Rwandan dissidents, abducting Rwandan nationals, and locking them in non-designated areas.
Rwanda then issued a travel advisory to its nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety was not guaranteed.
Now URA admits that during the closure, the tax collecting body lost a lot of revenue. Peter Gikwiyakare, Uganda Revenue Authority Customs Manager in charge of the south-western region says that before the border closure, URA would collect about shillings 400 million per month.
Gikwiyakare says that the collections would be high due to booming trade at the border especially the full-time crossing of trucks carrying goods to and from Rwanda.
Gikwiyakare explains that due to the border closure, URA’s efforts of collecting revenue completely dwindled due to lack of business. He however says that there are hopes of collecting more revenue since the border has reopened.
The revenue officer says that the since partial opening on January 31 this year, URA has managed to collect shillings 280 million, an indication of revival. He adds that with signs of trucks and human traffic crossing by use of buses that have started to increase, more revenue will be collected.
Our reporter observed a slight increase in buses resuming business to transport passengers crossing to and from Rwanda. So far, bus companies Volcano, Jaguar, and Trinity Express have resumed transport business along the Kigali-Kampala highway.
Sadam Hussein Kwizera, Volcano Bus Company Inspector also hopes that business will come back to normal since passengers are ready and prepared to cross to either country like how it used to be before the impasse.
He says that so far, they are charging 15,000 Rwandan francs (equivalent to Uganda Shillings 52,846) from Kigali to Kampala per passenger.
He calls upon the two countries to preserve the relationship so that business also remains booming.