Tanzania calls for further study on non-tariff barriers
Tanzania’s representatives to the just concluded ministerial meeting on the elimination of non-tariff barriers have called for more studies to be carried out on trade barriers within Tanzania itself.
The Tanzanian delegation, on Wednesday, failed to agree on the resolutions made during the Nairobi meeting concerning eliminating trade barriers.
Speaking to The New Times, Rwanda’s Trade and Industry Minister, François Kanimba, mentioned that all countries had demonstrated willingness to fight the barriers apart from Tanzania that requested to carry out further studies.
“We have agreed that all trade barriers must be removed in all partner states, but Tanzania is reluctant, especially on issues of removing the weigh bridges on their roads. They are saying that they still need more time to carry out studies,” he said.
According to the minister, the meeting resolved that all cargo should be weighed at entry and exit points as this means that all weighbridges that still exist on the regional roads were to be removed, a resolution that Tanzania disagreed with.
He further mentioned that such a decision would continue to hamper traders.
The EAC Secretary General, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, noted that NTBs had continued to affect regional integration and trade.
“NTBs have persisted or have merely mutated and your personal presence here is an indication of the commitment that we all share towards a functional and fully operational Common Market in conformity with the Treaty and Protocols that we have adopted as the pillars and compass of our integration,” noted Amb. Sezibera.
He disclosed that the region’s collective efforts had led to investment and trade expansion within the bloc as intra-regional trade had increased from US$1.6bn to US$3.8bn in 2010.
Sezibera reiterated that NTBs were negatively affecting trade by restricting market access and denying consumers reasonably priced regional commodities.
The Chairman of Council of Ministers, Musa Sirma of Kenya, said that both the EAC Treaty and the Common Market Protocol were emphatic on the issue of NTBs and therefore there was no need of re-negotiating the two critical community documents which were already considered and signed by the Heads of State.
“Let us not create positions which contradict those of the Heads of State who signed these documents. We need to avail cheap and affordable services to our people, ease their movements, create a homogeneous society within the EAC and no discrimination. This society must be cohesive and work together as one people with one destiny,” he said.
However this is not the first time Tanzania is differing on regional matters. Recently in Bujumbura, Tanzania’s minister in charge of East African Community affairs refused to sign an agreement on the establishment of the East African Community Political Federation.
He cited issues of land and security that were in the new report that was going to be presented to Heads of State for adoption in Bujumbura.
Ministers from four member countries signed the document but Tanzania’s seat remained empty at the Hotel Source de Nil in Bujumbura.
Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw