Why Moyale Post is a Trade Barrier


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Moyale and the Ethiopian one-stop border points aerial views from the Kenyan side. PICTURES | COURTESY

When launched two years ago, Moyale One Stop Border Post was touted as the ideal tool for facilitating trade between Kenya and Ethiopia.

Plagued by a myriad of challenges ranging from insecurity to a lack of harmonization of trade laws between the duo, the border post remains largely underutilized.

Residents of Moyale say the facility has instead turned into a trade barrier. For example, they no longer buy fuel in Ethiopia where it is more than 50% cheaper.

Cement that previously came from Ethiopia is no longer available and has to be trucked in from Nairobi. On arrival in Moyale, it sells for 900 shillings for a 50 kilogram bag, but it costs a maximum of 500 shillings in Ethiopia.

While a liter of petrol currently sells for 210 shillings, it costs less than 120 shillings across the border, five kilometers away.

“The border post does not help us as we thought because apart from the high commodity prices, there is no free movement of people and the cultural interactions that existed before no longer exist. We cannot even not buy food in Ethiopia,” said resident Mustafa Hussein.

The bus fare from Nairobi to Moyale, a distance of 850 kilometres, has risen from Shs 3,000 to Shs 5,000 and as life becomes unbearable with rising prices of other basic commodities due to the cost of fuel, some residents are planning to move to Ethiopia.

Locals say that when the movement of people across the border was smooth, life was easier as they bought goods from Ethiopia.

“I’m a motorbike and tuktuk mechanic and we used to get affordable spare parts from across the border. Those in Nairobi are very expensive because of the distance. Today our businesses have collapsed because motorcycle owners cannot afford fuel and spare parts,” said John Chege, a resident who has lived in Moyale for over 10 years.

Kenyans fear crossing into Ethiopia with a customs official revealing he had not ventured into the Ethiopian town in the two years he worked at the station.

“There is security in the post but over there in Ethiopia anything can happen at any time and I wouldn’t want to risk my life,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.

The substation was part of a $329 million (39.4 billion shillings) project that included construction of a 438 kilometer road from Merille to Moyale and 300 kilometers in Ethiopia with construction of the facility completed in 2018 and commissioned by former President Uhuru Kenyatta. in December 2020.

Ethiopia is heavily dependent on Kenya for glass and plastic bottles for beer and bottled water, while Kenya imports products such as cement, aluminum, lubricants and finished leather goods, among others.

Deputy Director of Customs and Border Control, Mr. Collins Wangala, said there were efforts to facilitate trade between the two countries, noting that they held regular meetings in the Management Committee forum. borders.

Mr. Nicholas Kinoti, Northern Region Coordinator, Kenya Revenue Authority, said that since Ethiopia is not a member of the East African Community, there is a need for Comesa to introduce procedures border management.

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