Non-Tariff barriers (NTBs) continue hindering effective running of businesses in the East African Community (EAC), according to a report compiled following a recent ministerial assessment of the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Bureaucratic practices at the two ports, unnecessary roadblocks and other administrative issues, are among the main stumbling-blocks to progressive business in the region, the report says.
Many weighbridges in the northern and central corridors, the report adds, result in goods not reaching their destinations on time. Some of the affected destinations are Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda with 36 roadblocks between Mombasa and Kigali and 30 between Dar es Salaam and Rusumo border. Uganda has nine roadblocks between Malaba and Gatuna.
Rwanda and Burundi are doing better than the rest EAC member states in this regard.
The report also says lengthy procedures in issuance of work permits among EAC partner States, especially Tanzania, are a big challenge. Other problems highlighted include lack of car parks at border posts, corruption and prohibition of cargo trucks from travelling beyond 18:00 within Tanzania.
Rwandan Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Emmanuel Hategeka told a press conference in Kigali recently that negotiations to ensure total elimination of barriers were ongoing.
“We are discussing with other EAC members states to reduce weighbridges, especially as regards transit cargo in the corridors,” he said.
The northern and central corridors link the two ports to the hinterland. Tanzania has agreed to remove a US$200 levy imposed on Kenyan trucks and also scrapped visa charges on Kenyan traders entering the country.
Several regional truck drivers told EANA that roadblocks were an enormous challenge in the EAC.
"Roadblocks are detrimental to trade. There are many roadblocks in Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda," said a driver who declined to be named. "They are a headache and cause losses in form of bribes paid at each roadblock."
However, Rwanda Revenue Authority taxpayers service development director Drocella Mukashyaka told EANA that there were no roadblocks in the country.
The ministerial assessment team report says most of the hurdles could be prevented by weighing transit vehicles twice from the port of entry and port of exit for Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi as Tanzania awaits a study on the establishment of the weighbridges.