By John Oyuke
Members of the East African Business Council (EABC) have raised concern over many barriers frustrating trade in the region.
The entrepreneurs singled out some of the issues as arbitrary suspension of commodity exports, continuous application of illegal fees and lack of coordination among border clearing authorities. EABC said in a statement that export bans instituted by agriculture ministries of Tanzania and Kenya have, for instance, denied producers in the region access to markets that would otherwise guarantee them higher returns. The Executive Director, Agatha Nderitu said the organisation has written to all Government institutions and agencies concerned requesting them to abolish or suspend the reported barriers.
"We want to encourage all businesses to continue reporting such trade barriers," she said in the statement issued last week by the regional umbrella organisation of the private sector.
In Tanzania, Nderitu pointed out that foreign-registered vehicles involved in transporting cargo still pay $500 to Tanzania Revenue Authority on each entry on top of annual fees of $600.
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In Burundi, she added, goods are still made to undergo tedious clearance procedures from numerous agencies, which include immigration, security, anti-corruption and customs department among others. In Rwanda, the EABC statement explained, Rwanda Revenue Authority does not recognise EAC certificate of origin particularly on goods originating from Uganda for electro-welded black tubes.
According to Nderitu, Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda National Bureau of Standards continue to issue different requirements regarding standards on Pre-Export Verification of Conformity.