Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda's Minister for East African Affairs, on Saturday, April 22, lifted the directive which had barred empty trucks from Kenya from entering the country from the Malaba border point.
Addressing the media, Kadaga indicated that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's administration had suspended the directive to allow empty trucks to enter Uganda through the Malaba border point.
She, however, indicated that the directive would be implemented for the next two months to allow Museveni's government to evaluate the progress and impact on cross-border trade.
Defending the decision, Kadaga stated that blocking empty drivers from using the Malaba border point had affected accessibility.
"So I have directed them to return the trucks here for two months, so we evaluate and see the way forward because those trucks are a source of income," she stated.
Previously, empty truck drivers were allowed to enter Uganda through the Lwakhaka border point, Bungoma County.
Besides lifting the directive, Kadaga directed Ugandan officials to open two other gates at the border to facilitate the seamless movement of goods and products.
"There has been a problem with accessibility, and I have directed the official to expand what we refer to as the small gate, and I will also ask them to open two other gates which have been closed," she announced.
The order barring Kenyan drivers with empty trucks from entering Uganda through Malaba was effected during the pandemic period.
However, on January 23, 2022, the two governments lifted some orders. During the meeting, they agreed that the usual scanning of trucks on the Kenyan border be suspended to fast-track the movement of trucks to Uganda, where scanning was to be solely done.
The government argued that the backlog at the border is a major worry to both countries as it has negatively impacted both trade and health sectors.
"It has been a major concern to us that we have been holding virtual meetings as Ministers at the East African Community level, Transport level and Health level for the last two to three weeks but those meetings did not yield fruit. This time it was decided that we come here in person to see what is going on in Malaba," former Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia stated.
“Scanning will be done in Uganda before the truck drivers can proceed with their journeys. We have also agreed that the verification, normally done at the Malaba- Uganda yard, be moved to a holding ground, which is far from here to minimise clogging," he added.
President William Ruto further vowed to streamline trade with Uganda after taking over from his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.