Arbitrary suspension of commodity exports, continuous application of illegal fees, and lack of coordination among border clearing authorities are some of the issues limiting trade within the East African Community (EAC).
According to a statement by the region’s umbrella of the business community, the East African Business Council (EABC), export bans instituted by Tanzania and Kenya Ministries of Agriculture have, for instance, denied producers access to markets that would otherwise guarantee them higher returns.
“We have written to all Government institutions and agencies concerned requesting them to abolish or suspend the reported barriers. We want to encourage all businesses to continue reporting such trade barriers,” Agatha Nderitu, the Executive Director of EABC, said in the statement released yesterday.
In Rwanda, the EABC says Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) does not recognise EAC certificate of origin particularly on goods originating from Uganda for electro-welded black tubes.
“There is need to continue on the path of harmonising and ensuring single data capture that would reflect at all border points,” Nderitu said.
According to EABC, Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda National Bureau of Standards continue to issue different requirements regarding standards on Pre-Export Verification of Conformity.
In Tanzania EABC says, foreign-registered vehicles involved in transporting cargo pay $500 to Tanzania Revenue Authority on each entry on top of the annual fees of $600.
For Burundi, goods regularly undergo tedious clearance procedures from numerous agencies which include immigration, security, anti-corruption, customs department, among others.
“Traders in Burundi would like to see Customs Department take up its rightful role of clearing goods,” the statement reads in part.
Uncoordinated activities among border agencies involved in quality assurance and certification such as bureaus of standards, food and drug inspection agencies as well as plant health inspection agencies , the EABC says have resulted in duplication of efforts, causing further delays in clearing of goods.
“Activities of agencies involved in clearing of goods should adequately be coordinated and brought together under one roof to hasten the clearing process,” it adds.
Offloading and reloading containers for verification at all border posts also leads to unnecessary delays and material loss due to breakages.