East African member states have reaffirmed their commitment to the elimination of non tariff barriers, EAC Affairs Minister, Monique Mukaruriza told parliament on Tuesday.
Speaking to a session chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Polisi Denis, Mukaruriza noted that Rwanda has removed roadblocks on all major routes connecting neighbouring countries and implored other member states to follow suit.
The Minister reported that roadblocks on the northern and central corridors are increasing the cost of doing business in the region. She said that in some countries, there are multiple weighing bridges.
She told parliament that the community members have extended working hours to facilitate business and that EAC residents will soon use national identity cards as travel documents.
The countries have argued that since the process of acquiring national passports was cumbersome and not easily accessible to the majority of the blocs citizens, national IDs should instead be used to travel within the EAC.
Mukaruriza regretted that despite adoption of a customs union amongst the member states, commodity prices have continued to rise.
She also reported that an opinion poll commissioned last year indicated that Rwandans are supportive of fast-tracking the political federation.
The Minister requested legislators to mobilize Rwandans to utilize advantages offered by Rwanda’s integration into the trading bloc.
Rwanda was admitted into the East African Community in 2007.