REGIONAL:EA loses $9.8 m in bribes paid to police, customs

East Africa’s truck drivers pay out a shocking $9.8 million in bribes to police and customs officials each year, at weighbridges and border crossing points.

East Africa’s truck drivers pay out a shocking $9.8 million in bribes to police and customs officials each year, at weighbridges and border crossing points.

They also lose a combined total of 172,236 days each year to delays at weighbridges, roadblocks and customs, with weighbridges causing almost half of the delays.

This has severely poisoned the business environment within the East African member states in the past one year. The findings are in the latest Business Climate Index Survey 2008, prepared by the East African Business Council.

“The private sector in East Africa has the capacity to grow and become globally competitive.

But this cannot happen without transformation of the current business environment,” said Charles Mbogori the Executive Director, EABC.”EABC is committed to addressing the issue of investment and business climate through constant monitoring and reporting.”

The report says Ugandans form the most positive business leaders, followed by Kenyans, Rwandans, Tanzanians and Burundi.

Majority of business leaders singled out access to affordable and reliable telecommunications as key to business growth, besides availability of water and security.Other vital factors include guaranteed transport and energy.Ugandan and Tanzanian business leaders showed more optimism than their regional counterparts.

The EABC launched the EA Business Climate Index Survey in 2005, with an overall objective of eliminating NTBs and improving other business climate factors.

The Steadman Group, on behalf of EABC, conducted the survey between July and September last year.

It comprised interviews with 240 business leaders from Uganda (25 per cent), Kenya (21 per cent), Tanzania (20 per cent), Rwanda (18 per cent) and Burundi (15 per cent).

Other interviewees included 140 truck drivers, through self completion diaries (collected at the point of exit from the country of departure), and 187 clearing and forwarding agents (CFA’s) EABC is an apex lobby group of business associations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi founded in 1997.

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