East African Community (EAC) states are steadily laying the foundations for increased prosperity by dismantling bureaucratic and procedural barriers to economic integration, Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) said this when it launched its first annual report yesterday.
The donor-funded organisation, set up to help EAC states, institutions and the private sector to unlock the wealth potential that integration holds, TMEA said, adding that much had been achieved towards unravelling bureaucratic and procedural snags to quicker, smoother and cheaper trade between the East Africa countries.
"Examples include starting work on six 'one-stop border posts', setting up a system to remove customs bonds with a potential to save the region about a billion dollars and initiating six 'single window' sites where cross border documents can be processed at a single location," TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert said.
"Our biggest headline result was undoubtedly in Burundi where we helped to establish a single revenue authority (Office Burundais des Recettes - OBR) that has resulted in a 37 percent increase in Burundi's national revenues," Matsaert added.
Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza said his government hoped OBR would double state taxation revenue in its first year of operation, taken to be "a tremendous achievement."
"The additional state revenues provide resources for better education, health and security services and for improving our hard infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools, and our soft infrastructure such as laws and internet services.
One of TMEA’s goals is to work with governments, EAC institutions, private business and civil society to reduce by 15 percent the average time it takes to import or export a container from Mombasa or Dar es Salaam to Rwanda or Burundi.
It further hopes to slash by one third the amount of time it takes for a truck to cross selected borders, a key additional cost for the freight industry and consumers alike.