TANZANIAN-REGISTERED TRUCKS will, effective September 9, pay road toll charges equivalent to what Rwandan-registered trucks have been paying.
Tanzanian trucks have been paying only $152, while Rwandan trucks were charged U$500 by Tanzanian authorities.
Rwanda had initially set the date of harmonising the fees for September 1, but after Tanzanian truck drivers claimed they were not aware of the changes, the Rwandan Government allowed them to continue doing business for another extra week, after which the harmonised fee structure will apply.
“We wrote to the Tanzanian government about this matter a long time ago, but they didn’t respond. We have written to them again, informing them of the new implementation date,” Finance Minister Amb. Claver Gatete told The New Times yesterday.
“They are now aware that come September 9, Tanzania-registered trucks will pay same road fees ($500) as what Rwandan-registered trucks pay in Tanzania to ensure fair treatment.”
Minister Gatete added that it is only fair that the trucks from both countries pay a harmonised fee as they are competing for the same market. This is seen as a reciprocal action.
Rwandan traders have been complaining about the high transit fees charged by Tanzania for a long time now.
The minister revealed that talks with Tanzania were ongoing to come to an understanding over the issue. “We are hoping we will, ultimately, agree to reduce the road toll charged by both countries and have a uniform fee for fair treatment,” Gatete said.
About a fortnight ago, Tanzanian deputy transport and infrastructure minister, Charles Tizeba, told traders in Kigali that his government had embarked on initiatives to eliminate trade barriers and streamline operations along the central corridor.
But some traders have expressed doubts. “Let’s wait and see, but it looks like Tanzania is instead introducing new trade barriers, or at least not easing the existing barriers,” said an importer, who attended the meeting but requested not to be mentioned.
A few weeks ago, Tanzanian authorities in Arusha and Longido imposed a new cargo transit fee on Kenyan trucks, sparking outcry among the business community and raising concerns about the country’s commitment to remove trade barriers as per East African Community customs union protocol.
“We are now asked to pay Tsh40,000 or $25 in total as Arusha and Longido have imposed a goods transit levy of Tsh20,000 or $12.5 for Kenyan-registered trucks,” a Kenyan driver is quoted as saying by Kenyan media.