By Sammy Jakaa
The traders said the system had raised the price of essential commodities, which has forced residents to shop in neighbouring Uganda.
Busia County Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair Fred Papa admitted that most consumers shop in Uganda because commodities are far much cheaper there.
“The prices in Kenya are very high and people are now crossing over to Uganda because it is more affordable,” said Mr Papa.
He was speaking in Malaba town during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the East African Community Common Market Protocol.
The traders asked the Government to harmonise prices of essential commodities in EAC member states to ensure fair competition.
“We want the Government to harmonise prices of essential commodities across the countries to give the traders an equal opportunity to benefit from the East Africa Community Protocol,” he added.
Papa noted that cars in Uganda are cheap because tax was low and most residents of the border town drive vehicles registered in the neighbouring country. “People move across the border in order to purchase cars and they register them there because the taxes on cars are much lower.”
East African Community Minister Musa Sirma assured the traders that their grievances would be addressed. Mr Sirma noted that slow pace of border point operations was hindering the integration process.
He said there would be a multi-sectoral approach that would see all goods cleared at once at every border point. “We want goods to be cleared once through a joint operation at the border points to hasten the movement of goods across the border,” said the minister.