There is a sigh of relief among the business community in East Africa as Kenya becomes stable.
John Bosco Kalisa, director of trade and regional integration department in Rwanda’s private sector federation said the peace deal is good.
“And if there is chance for helping the affected investors, governments should do so otherwise the private investor will continue to struggle for sometime,” he said.
His comment comes at a time the East African Business Council (EABC), an apex body of business associations in the region has issued a statement urging partner states to institute measures to enable businesses recover the losses incurred during the last two months Kenya was plunged into post election violance.
The crisis caused massive losses to businesses as it was hard to transport finished goods, raw materials and labour to and from the five countries, the statement reads in part.
“This in turn occasioned to loss of revenue to the businesses and their respective governments (as) all sectors, especially but not limited to manufacturing, export, import and tourism were affected,” the statement issued by the EABC Secretariat reads in part.
The Secretariat suggests governments give waivers on taxes and other charges, including VAT and port demurrage to help businesses recover.
Vincent Karega, Rwanda’s state minister for industry and investment promotion appreciates the business community’s concerns, however hastened to add that his country did not register major losses during the crisis to warrant tax waivers.
Backing his argument, the minister said: “There was no serious business that collapsed during the crisis. Instead revenue collection during that period increased,” the minister said. he referred this reporter to Rwanda Revenue Authority for revenue collection figures.
Karega said while other countries ran out of fuel stocks, Rwanda managed to maintain supply by shipping oil products through Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
So, manufactures, transporters and key sector that depend heavily on oil products remained operational during the crisis.
The business community also says the region needs to invest in image rebuilding programme. The programme will reassure the world that EAC is a viable investment destination and has business partners.
The traders also advise that Tanga and Lamu ports be developed to reduce pressure on Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
The secretariat also says road and rail network should be improved. Air transport must be made cheaper and affordable to even small businesses.