EABC CALLS FOR QUICK ROLL-OUT OF THE EAC COVID-19 PASS
- Taveta/Holili One-Stop Border Post cleared 33,000 cargo trucks in 2021 a 73% from 2020
Saturday, 12th February 2022, Holili Tanzania: The Principal Secretary in the State Department of East Africa Community, Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development of Kenya, Dr. Kevit Desai said the EAC Partner States will soon adopt the EAC Pass to ease the movement of East Africans amid the pandemic during the EABC Trade Facilitation Forum held at Taveta/Holili One-Stop Border Post.
Dr. Desai lauded the strong leadership of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Chair of EAC Heads of State Summit for bolstering the EAC regional integration agenda for businesses and East Africans to actualize prosperity.
Dr. Desai called for collective efforts towards trade facilitation & value addition to boost manufacturing and urged East African businesses people to boldly tap into the markets of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
On their part, the chairpersons of women cross-border traders stated un-harmonized measures on COVID-19 increase the cost of business operations citing the USD.10 antigen test on the Tanzania side while on the Kenya side is free of charge. Women cross-border traders also elaborated that EAC Simplified Trade Regime is not implemented as envisioned.
Speaking at the Forum, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa said “Taveta/Holili One-Stop Border Post cleared 33,000 cargo trucks in 2021 a 73% increase from 19,000 in 2020.” He expounded that the increase in the volume of trade underscores the importance of eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers for the quick recovery and resilience of the EAC economies amid COVID-19.
Mr. Kalisa called for a green channel for East African products at the border to boost intra trade and competitiveness of the region.
Levies on transit and EAC originating goods (East African products) by the counties in Kenyan and re-testing of products by Bureaus of Standards are among other hurdles raised by the business leaders during the forum.
The women cross-border traders recommended for more sensitization campaigns on the EAC Simplified Trade Regime, customs procedures and formation of clusters & consolidation of products to be deployed in order to ease trade.
The Eastern Africa Grain Council and Taha Fresh called upon the customs agencies to offer priority clearance to perishable and all agricultural goods especially during Information Technology System breakdowns to avoid delays.
Dr. Desai urged for regular holding of the joint border management committees, strengthening partnerships to set up the Jumuiya Market at Taita/Taveta and explained that the Ministry’s Business Reforms Unit will work closely with the EABC and Chambers of Commerce to analyze counties’ regulatory compliance.
On his part, Mr. Kalisa said that Holili/Taveta OSBP links the northern and central corridor and has high potential to transform into a leading trade hub in the continent.
The forum also recommended cross-border traders be permitted to cross and do business up to 10 km on both sides of the border, quick rollout of the EAC COVID-19 pass and improved infrastructure such as cargo scanners.
The EABC Trade Facilitation Forum was attended by over 60 delegates composed of Officials from the Ministry of EAC, trade facilitation agencies, importers, exporters, transporters & freight forwarders, Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) and women cross-border traders.
The forum was supported by GIZ “Support to East African Market-Driven and People-Centred Integration” programme (SEAMPEC).