EABC URGES FOR HARMONISATION OF INSPECTION CHARGES ON GOODS AT THE RUSUMO ONE-STOP BORDER POST
The East African Business Council (EABC) is urging for the harmonization of inspection charges by Trade Facilitation Agencies along the Rusumo OSBP, (Rwanda-Tanzania) which is increasing the cost of doing business.
The current USD 35 being levied on each truck entering Rwanda, as facilitation fees for accommodation and refreshments for truck drivers, in COVID-19 isolation centers is likely to adversely affect the cost of doing business. Instead, we should make use of the existing GPS monitoring, which was set to replace testing of COVID-19 at the border points.
The position follows EABC’s visits at the Rusumo One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) today, aiming at seeking sustainable solutions to issues hampering trade EAC across borders.
In a meeting with the Rusumo Joint Border Management Committee (BMC), the business community also urged for harmonization and reduction of quality inspection fees charged on goods by the Food and Drugs Authority in Rwanda and fast-tracking the issuance of chemical permits by Tanzanian Authorities to reduce transit time at the border.
The meeting also appealed to all the EAC Partner States to expedite harmonization on issuance, recognition and use of national identity cards as travel documents in a bid to facilitate cross border trade.
The Rusumo OSBP is a strategic border point for the EAC as it accounts for over 80% of imports into Rwanda through the Dar-es-Salaam port via the post.
The OSBP was processing 400 trucks daily before the East African region recorded cases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The figure has now dropped to 235 trucks daily.
Dr. Mathuki also appealed for the establishment of a Joint Cross Border market by the two Partner States to ease access to goods and facilitate payments and boost economic activities at the point to the advantage of traders and the community at the border.
Some of the major goods traded using the borders include; construction material such as cement, iron and steel, processed goods such as cereals and sugar confectionery, edible vegetables and automobiles and parts.
Among other key recommendations aimed to facilitate cross border trade include: rehabilitation of the road at Nyabugombe town, approximately 35kms from Rusumo town, permitting free movement of people and 6 months stay visa for East Africans in line with Common Market Protocol and measures & guidelines to curb the outbreak of COVID-19.