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MP says border customs office to ease trade with Somalia

Monday March 02 2020
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Wajir South MP Mohamud Omar speaks during a security sensitisation campaign in Diff on February 29, 2020. He called for the opening of the border customs office in Diff on the Kenya-Somalia border. PHOTO | COURTESY

By BRUHAN MAKONG

A legislator from Wajir County wants the government to operationalise the customs office in Diff on the Kenya-Somalia border to ease trade between the two countries.

Wajir South MP Mohamud Omar says the move will help boost the economic activities of residents who mainly depend on transactions with Kenya's neighbour for their livelihood.

His sentiments come more than a month after authorities seized 900 bags of contraband sugar worth Sh1.84 million believed to have been brought from Somalia to his sub-county.

MORE REVENUE

Speaking in Diff during a security sensitisation campaign, Mr Omar said the move will help the government generate more revenue while allowing fair business transactions between Kenya and Somalia.

"For a long time, residents in this part of the country have been suffering due to closure of the border points and we are now appealing to the government to allow operationalisation of the customs office to restore businesses in the area," he said.

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Mr Omar said the government needs to act with speed to open up the border points to curb entry of contraband goods and illegal firearms.

ILLICIT TRADE

According to the legislator, lack of designated entry points has made illicit trade to thrive in the constituency which shares about 300 kilometres of border with Somalia.

"We want the border points to be opened urgently in order to prevent smugglers who are taking advantage of the current situation to sneak in contraband goods and illegal weapons into the country,” he said.

Mr Mohamed Dagane, an elder, said the government is losing a lot of revenue due to illegal entry of goods, adding that opening of the border point is the only way to end the problem.

VIGILANCE

Mr Dagane said that as residents, they will cooperate with security agencies in providing information on any illegal movements within the border points.

Wajir County Commissioner Jacob Narengo, who was also present at the event, called on the residents to be vigilant on activities along the border in the wake of terrorist attacks and the recent coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping across the world.

“We are appealing to the residents to report the entry of any vehicles into the county to security agencies for action to be taken and also share information on any suspicious activities to prevent entry of Al-Shabaab militants into the country," he said.

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