Katuna Border Sees a 42% Boost in Revenue Following Reopening and Cross-Border Trade – The Ankole Times

Katuna Border Sees a 42% Boost in Revenue Following Reopening and Cross-Border Trade

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Revenue collection at Katuna border has experienced a substantial 42% growth, signifying a positive turn in business activities following the reopening of the border. The impetus for this growth can be traced back to Rwanda’s decision to lift travel restrictions on its nationals entering Uganda.

Katuna border had faced a prolonged period of stagnation, enduring approximately four years of inactivity after Rwanda closed the border on February 27, 2019. The closure was prompted by allegations from Rwandan President Paul Kagame, accusing Uganda of espionage, abductions of Rwandan citizens, and harboring dissidents. Safety concerns led Rwanda to advise its nationals against traveling to Uganda.

The border remained closed for nearly three years until January 31, 2022, when it reopened following the intervention of Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. This move marked a turning point, allowing previously collapsed businesses at the border to resume operations.

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Despite the reopening, Rwandan Nationals faced challenges, including a mandatory payment of Ugx 5000 for a Covid PCR Test upon entering Uganda. Additionally, small-scale businessmen were initially restricted from purchasing food items and essentials from Ugandan markets. However, in June of the same year, Rwandan Nationals were granted free movement to trade in Ugandan markets.

A recent visit to Katuna Border revealed a notable increase in the movement of Rwandan Nationals into Uganda for shopping, contributing to an evident improvement in revenue on the Ugandan side.

In a phone interview, Edrine.M.Mutebi, the acting assistant commissioner in charge of public and corporate affairs at Uganda Revenue Authority, emphasized the positive impact on revenue collection. He disclosed that revenue, which was above Shs 1 billion when the border closed, reached over Shs 2.7 billion upon reopening in 2022. Furthermore, last year saw a remarkable increase to Shs 3.8 billion, representing a significant 42% increment and highlighting the strategic importance of the border.

Christmas Dezi Byarugaba, the town clerk for Katuna town council, affirmed the positive local impact. He noted that tax collection had been minimal during the border closure but has risen since Rwandan Nationals were allowed to trade freely in Ugandan markets. Byarugaba expressed optimism, predicting a further increase in revenue by the year’s end.

Byarugaba also highlighted the significance of Rwandan Nationals purchasing commodities like Posho from Ugandan markets, showcasing a noteworthy achievement for the local economy.

Ugandan traders Ainemani Bosco and Karagwa Julius echoed the positive sentiment, asserting that trade has significantly improved since the participation of Rwandan nationals in Ugandan markets. The traders are hopeful that this trend will persist, leading to continued economic growth.

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Jim Sykes Ocaya is the Business Editor at The Ankole Times, where he spearheads comprehensive coverage of the business landscape in Uganda. With a keen eye for market trends, financial analyses, and corporate developments, Jim ensures that The Ankole Times delivers top-notch business news to its readers. His insightful reporting provides valuable insights into the economic pulse of the region, making him a trusted source for the business community.
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