In an effort to eliminate non tariff barriers, all in East Africa Community (EAC) countries will have to remove roadblocks and replace them with electronic cargo tracking systems and police patrols by next month.
This is one of the decisions taken at the East African Community (EAC) ministerial meeting which was held early this year.
A press statement issued by the EAC said other key decisions at the dedicated session include reduction of roadblocks in the Northern and Central corridor from 36 to 5 in Kenya, 30 to 15 in Tanzania while Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi will abolish them completely.
The session decided that transit vehicles to be weighed twice from the port of entry and port of exit for Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi while Tanzania awaits a study on the establishment of weighbridges.
It was recommended that partner states will identify borders and ports that would be put on 24 hours operation and report to the EAC secretariat within two weeks.
According to the statement, the meeting agreed that mutual recognition of standards of each partner states testing authorities/ agencies.
Others are container freight services (CFS) companies to charge the same rates for services as the port authorities do in the respective countries (Kenya and Tanzania).
The meeting also wanted trucks entering Tanzania not be charged USD200 as well as visa charges on businessmen entering the country to be eliminated.
In March this year, a multi-sectoral Ministerial delegation led by Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Musa Sirma met and briefed President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and the current chair of the EAC Heads of State Summit on the status of eliminating non tariff barriers (NTBs) in the region.
The chair of the summit commended partner states’ ministers of EAC affairs to spearhead and fasttrack removal of the identified NTBs that were impacting intra-regional trade, investment and free movement of people.
According to the statement President Kibaki reiterated the importance of the EAC Heads of State to attach promotion and sustenance of a vibrant regional market that is free from any impediments that may obstruct the free movement of goods and people among the partner states.
Kibaki urged EAC Affairs ministers to bring to the attention of all stakeholders the decisions that taken to remove the NTBs.
He said each minister had the duty and responsibility to inform and follow up with stakeholders on what had been agreed upon.