Traders have called on the EAC Heads of State Summit to convince Tanzania to change its stand on regional work permit fees that would facilitate the free movement of labour within the Community.
This comes as two Tanzanian officials iwere quoted in the media saying waiving fees for work permit for EAC citizens was not possible.
“Although we have heard that some EAC partner states have agreed to waive work permit fees, we’re not ready to follow suit as we’re still working on other regulations of the regional bloc’s Common Market Protocol,” deputy Finance minister Saada Salum reportedly said, last week.
And Tanzania’s Deputy EAC minister Abdullah Saadalla said, “It’s impossible to waive work permit fees now. What Tanzania considers important now is getting work permit before thinking of waiving fees.”
Appealing to EAC leaders
However, the position has caused anxiety in the business community in Kigali, with calls for the intervention of the bloc’s highest authority.
The Director of Advocacy in Private Sector Federation, Gerald Mukubu, said Dar es salaam’s position would disrupt implementation of protocols.
“It’s unfortunate that the authorities who should be facilitating implementation of the EAC protocols are the ones blocking it.
To deepen the integration process, the common market protocol stipulates that all the five partner states waive fees on work permit to ease movement of labour within the community. However, only Rwanda and Kenya have since done so.
Dennis Karera, the chairperson of the Rwanda Hotels, Restaurants and Bars Association, said: “It’s unfortunate. I think the Secretary-General (of the EAC) should bring the matter to the attention of the Summit so that Heads of State take a final position.”