Touring one of the border crossing points in Kailahun recently along the Ballu border by river moa, which separates Sierra Leone and Guinea I caught up with some NRA officers and some police officers sheltering in a make shift tapoline hut because the actual custom post has been blown off by a wind storm and is still yet to be repaired.
That border was very busy then with mini boats anchoring with goods from Guinea belonging to Fullah and Kissi women, while NRA and police officers were very busy doing checking and valuation of the goods.
In a chat with the NRA boss in Kailahun Joseph Conteh, he explained that the roof had blown off twice this season, pointing out that the first one took place some two months ago and he used his personal money to renovate it.
This time around he said, government is expected to come to their aid as the current problem in Guinea coupled with the continued occupation of the Yenga enclave by Guinean troops had extremely scaled down business activities along the borders.
Should government fail to intervene, he said they would down their tools and discontinue their work adding that much is not realized in terms of revenue collection at the moment because of the internal problems in Guinea.
He confirmed that the main source of revenue collection is from Honda or Motor cycle importers who were seriously complaining about the high taxation imposed on them by NRA.
He maintained that major economic activities are currently grounded with only domestic or petty traders who deal in food stuff.
The reason is that, the Six Hundred US Dollars ($ 600) valuation per motorbike or Honda, with 41% percent tax deductions is too much for bike importers, who seek to create employment for ex-combatants and other categories of youths in the District. On the constraints Mr. Conteh further explained that, his office has not got a safe let alone a bank in Kailahun where to keep revenue for safe keeping. He noted that keeping money at home or moving with it from place to place might attract thieves to him.
He also complained of non- availability of transport to monitor the border. In a similar development most of the Okada riders I spoke to complained of delay in issuing license to them they there fore calling on government to open a license office in Kailahun to fast track renewal and issuance of license.