The business community at Katuna and Cyanika border posts in Kabale and Kisoro districts, respectively, have expressed joy after Rwandan authorities lifted travel restrictions on their nationals crossing into Uganda.
The chairperson of the business community at Katuna border post, Mr Franko Korinako, yesterday said cross-border trade is now booming since the Rwandans freely cross into Uganda.
Although the Rwandan borders with Uganda were reopened in March last year after being closed for three years, Rwandan nationals were not being allowed to cross into Uganda unless they had paid Rwf5,000 Rwandan (about Ush15,000) each for a Covid-19 PCR test, something that many ordinary citizens could not afford. The Rwandans had also been stopped from buying household and food items from Ugandan border markets.“We are so grateful to the government of Rwanda for having lifted the travel restrictions. It is almost two weeks now since the Covid-19 PCR tests were stopped thus giving chance to ordinary Rwandans to cross the border for trade or social functions where their relatives stay,” Mr Korinako said.
The LC3 chairperson for Chyanika border post, Mr Erasmus Sanyu, said the traders have been jubilating for the last two weeks after reuniting with their Rwandan counterparts following the lifting of the travel restrictions.“The revival of cross-border trade between Uganda and Rwanda will not only boost the trade but also strengthen the social interactions that had been banned,” Mr Sanyu said.
Read: Ugandan exports to Rwanda flourishHe added that due to the travel restrictions, the Rwandan Franc had depreciated at the border post.
Mr Sanyu said Ush10,000 currently fetches Rwf3,350 unlike in the past few months when the same would fetch Rwf2,500.
Rwandan nationals that included Mr Alfonsi Bavakure, Ms Janatte Wimana and Ms Fransen Mutonye, who crossed into Uganda through Katuna border post yesterday, said they were happy to meet their friends and relatives after a long time.
The senior immigration officer at Katuna, Mr Soter Kabyogamu, on Monday said there is need for increased staff to handle the increasing number of travellers to avoid unnecessary delays.