The East African Business Council (EABC) is urging for lowering and harmonization of COVID-19 related charges in the East African Community, in a bid to ease the cost of doing business and boost intra-EAC trade.
EABC chief executive Peter Mathuki says whereas Tanzania and Burundi are charging a standard rate of $100 (KSh10,960) for both nationals and foreigners, other partner States’ charges vary.
Mathuki said this had turned out to be another form of a Non tariff Barrier (NTB) preventing a rebound of cross-border regional trade. The regional partner states
of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda have also not established a common quarantine period in the region, resulting in delays for test results.
“The EAC Secretariat should fast track regional coordination and harmonisation of measures on Covid-19 for economic resilience and growth of the EAC
bloc,” said Peter Mathuki, the EABC chief executive.
As of October 2020, the World Bank predicted growth in Sub-Saharan Africa to fall to -3.3 percent in 2020, driven by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Dr. Mathuki noted that reduction and harmonization of COVID-19 related NTBs will also enable businesses to tap into the opportunities availed by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“AfCFTA prioritizes addressing challenges in trade policy, productive capacity, hard and soft infrastructure, trade information and market integration which are critical for doing business in the continent,” he said.