Last year, the East African Community (EAC) member states agreed to eliminate Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), which constitute a major impediment to trade within the regional bloc.
However, exactly a year later traders are complaining of the failure by some partner states to implement the set policy within the regional bloc.
Rwanda is the only country that has progressively removed all the obstacles to trade with her regional partners. Unfortunately, some of her counterparts are not progressing at the same level.
This is a worrisome situation given that trade is at the heart of the region’s integration efforts for the development of regional commerce, without which progress cannot be made in other areas of cooperation among the partner states.
Open trade within the EAC member countries will reduce the importation of secondary and tertiary goods into the region, stimulating it towards innovation and technological advancement.
Setting the foundation for its prosperity and self-dependence.
However, it seems that some EAC member states are paying lip-service to this issue, as study after study being carried out reveals that they are becoming more protectionist; have long customs clearance procedures, too many weighbridge stations and bureaucratic export certification procedures.
Here we see the incapacity of individual EAC member states to determine the implementation of agreed on policy measures at their respective national levels.
It’s time for the EAC partner states to offer solutions that rid the region of obstacles to free trade.
These impediments have to be eliminated to further the EAC’s cause of enhancing and strengthening domestic financial markets by improving practical trade that simplifies and relaxes on investment procedures.
The commitments made by Rwanda to lift trade barriers need to be diligently pursued and pressured into action, by her regional partners since they are the answer to the region’s trade success and economic development.