The private sector body attached to the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat said in a statement yesterday that Kenyan officials at border posts with Tanzania subject truckers to double testing of coronavirus. This in turn delays transportation of goods between the two countries and with other EAC member states as well, it said
EABC Executive CEO Dr Peter Mathuki appealed to authorities in Kenya to accord equal treatment of all EAC zone citizens entering Kenya from Tanzania, irrespective of whether they are truck drivers or routine travellers.
“Currently, travelers entering Kenya from Tanzania are allowed to proceed once they produce a Covid-19 certificate while truck drivers have to produce a certificate from Tanzania and undergo a new test at the border point. They are allowed in only after the results are out,” he explained.
Border officials on the Tanzanian side and truck drivers say this procedure takes more than a week, hence subjecting the delivery of goods to unnecessary delays, he said.
Dr Mathuki urged the strengthening of public-private partnerships between Kenya and Tanzania to boost bilateral trade.
He was speaking during talks with the Permanent Secretary in the EAC Affairs ministry in Kenya, Dr. Kevit Desai, who toured the Namanga border post to “establish the capacity of aflatoxin surveillance while witnessing the testing and issuance of COVID-19 certificates.”
Dr. Mathuki also urged governments to fast track economic stimulus packages to support businesses.
Covid-19 is estimated to cost East Africa partner states between $37bn and $79bn in output losses. In March-July 2019, the value of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania stood atk around $336m while imports stood at $275m on the basis of figures released by the Central Bank of Kenya.
In the same period in 2020, data analysis indicates that Kenya exports stood at $169m and imports stood at $135m, a decrease of close to 10 percent in exports and close to 30 percent in imports.
The team also visited the proposed site for construction of an integrated cross-border market at Namanga. The market that will sit on 200 acres of land will be built by the Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development, in collaboration with the Kajiado County authorities.
Dr Mathuki proposed that this initiative be emulated in other EAC border points as a trio partnership linking national governments, the private sector and county governments.
“The market is set to enhance trade between Kenya and Tanzania, promote value addition, spur economic growth and ensure standards and quality assurance or goods traded between the two countries,” he said.
County governments will be able to showcase their products which can access the cross-border market,, he added.