Rwandan authorities have temporarily reopened the Gatuna border crossing with Uganda to allow heavy goods vehicles to cross.
The Rwanda Revenue Authority commissioner general Mr Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali has announced that the Gatuna border on the Rwandan side, shall be opened from June 10 to June 22 as they assess the operationalisation of construction works of the one-stop border point.
“The management of Rwandan Revenue Authority is pleased to inform the general public that heavy trucks are allowed to provisionally cross Gatuna One Stop Border Point between June 10 and June 22 in order to facilitate these trial activities requested by Rwanda Transport Development Agency,” Mr Bizimana said in the statement dated June 7, 2019.
Rwandan ambassador to Uganda Maj Gen Frank Mugambage on Monday confirmed the development in a telephone interview with this publication.
“Yes! It is true the Rwanda Revenue Authority officials have opened Gatuna border post for heavy trucks for two weeks to test the grounds of the constructed one stop border point at Gatuna. It is not a rumour at all, ”Gen Mugambage said.
However, the in-charge of Uganda customs at Katuna, Mr Emmanuel Bamanya on Monday morning said that they had not yet received official communication from the Uganda Revenue Authority headquarters over the matter.
“We are taking it as a rumour until we receive official commination from our headquarters,” Mr Bamanya said.
But Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner Customs, Mr Dicksons Collins Kateshumbwa when asked said.
“I have received a letter from my counterpart, the Commissioner Customs in Rwanda, saying they are now allowing heavy duty trucks to go through until 22nd of this month as they test the road.
“So I can confirm that I have received communication regarding the fact that the border is open for our heavy duty trucks for now.”
The mayor for Katuna town council Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija welcomed the opening of the border saying it was not too late for the businesses that had suspended operations.
The chairman for the clearing agents at Katuna border post Mr Sam Sserwanga said it is a positive gesture to have the border re-opened. However, he says, it should not be a temporary measure but a permanent one.
“We are grateful that the Gatuna border has been re-opened but it is our prayer that it is permanent instead of just two weeks as communicated. Most of the clearing agents that had shifted their business to Mirama hills in Ntungamo District shall return to Katuna once the Gatuna border is opened as communicated,” Mr Sserwanaga said.