Katuna Town Council has lost millions of revenue due to little or no business at the border town since the closure of the Uganda – Rwanda border eight months ago.
The borders were closed on February 27 after the two countries accused each other of espionage, political killings and attack on trade.
Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Katuna Town Council mayor told Watchdog Uganda on Sunday that more than Shs200 million has been lost due to border closure.
Nshangabasheija said the revenues would be collected from vehicles that would be packed en route to Kigali, hotels that would serve and host travelers and so on.
“We have lost more than Shs200 million in revenues because we had the Katuna daily market, we could collect taxes from packed vehicles, we would get licenses from shops and money changers and many things but we must endure because we cannot do anything to it” Nshangabasheija was quoted saying.
He also revealed that some of the large businesses left the ghost border town for others.
“Our businessmen went to Busia and South Sudan because no business in happening here since February” Nshangabasheija told watchdog Uganda.
Since border closure, Kigali advised its citizens never to cross to Uganda, saying Kampala was torturing her innocent citizens living in Uganda.
It was later reported that Kigali had introduced a fine of USD5,000 to anyone who was arrested while attempting to cross to Uganda or else selling Ugandan products.
Many Rwandans were held trying to cross to Uganda, reportedly escaping President Paul Kagame’s dictatorial rule and hunger. Some were shot dead other imprisoned.
However, efforts to bring calm between Kigali and Kampala have been happening. A month a go, Presidents Kagame and his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni signed a pact in Angola aimed at ending months of tensions.
Angolan president Joao Lourenco along with his counterparts from Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo witnessed the event in Luanda.
In mid September, a meeting was convened in Kigali and both nations Uganda and Rwanda reportedly agreed to open borders soon.
The issue of reopening the border and free movement of people was pushed to the next meeting, which will happen in Kampala this week.
In early June this year, Uganda’s East African community ministry reported that Kampala had lost more than $664 million’s worth of exports to Rwanda while Kigali had lost $104 million during the three months the Gatuna border has been closed.
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