Eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers and lowering telecommunications costs are some of the top issues the private sector want sorted for a good business environment.
The private sector through their umbrella organization dubbed the East African Business Council (EABC) Technical Advocacy Coordination Team (TACT) also wants the liberalisation of the regional Air Transport services hastened.
TACT made these recommendations during their annual meeting held on Friday last week in Arusha-Tanzania. Here, they reviewed the EABC policy actions for the year and formulated next year’s agenda.
Peter Mathuki, EABC executive director said: “I urge the policy experts to look at how the private sector can contribute to the implementation of Monetary Union among other emerging issues such as the African Continental Free Trade Area that have implications to business in the region.”
He said that for the EAC Political Federation to take place all other stages of the EAC integration process should be properly and fully implemented.
The policy experts emphasized the need for Tanzania and Burundi to join the One Area Network to reduce telecommunication costs for both East Africans and business people.
One Network Area – an initiative that eliminated mobile telephone roaming charges for networks in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. Burundi and Tanzania had said they would join in, but did not.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) bringing a larger continental market of approximately 1.2 billion people together is an opportunity for EABC to sell goods and services made in East Africa.
Adrian Njau, EABC trade and policy advisor said: “The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement aims at benefiting the private sector through reducing transaction costs by cutting red tape, improving transparency, simplifying customs procedures for export, import and transit businesses.”
The policy experts also agreed to combat illicit trade in the region, fastrack the cotton textile and apparels industry, transport and logistics in addition to harmonising standards in the region.
This year, EABC adopted the 10 per cent Import Duty on sugar for industrial use which is an important raw material used by manufacturers.
The adoption of Common External Tariff (CET) Proposals on iron and steel and paper products by partner states to protect the industries from cheap imports.