Members of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have called upon the business community and other stakeholders to fully exploit Single Customs Territory potential.
They made the call in Arusha when contributing to the report of the Committee on Communications, Trade and Investment on Single Customs Territory tabled in the 6th EALA Plenary session on Tuesday.
“As a Member of Parliament for East Africa, I wish to call upon the business community and other stakeholders to fully exploit this opportunity of SCT,” said Shyrose Bhanji one of Tanzania’s EALA MPs.
She urged the region to exploit the ever-increasing trade opportunities, saying Dar es Salaam was another strategic port for consideration and that the Committee should visit the port to acquaint themselves with its operations.
She added: “Since the SCT aims at reducing transaction costs of business, we expect reduction of prices so that goods can be enjoyed across the EAC Region.”
Bhanji suggested the need to lower the high communication costs in the EAC region which may affect the operationalization of the SCT.
“Given the existence of over 140 million East Africans, we are now tasked to take our market to the next level. If prices of goods will be reduced then poverty arguably will also be reduced, other things being equal,” she said.
The heart of SCT lies in the operation of the two main ports namely Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. “As we have already visited Mombasa Port three times (once the whole Assembly and twice as Communication, Trade and Investment (CTI) Committee) we should not be asking too much if we visit Dar es Salaam Port in order to bear witness and play our oversight role as Parliamentarians.
It is sad to note that we have not visited Dar es Salaam Port in the last two years.”
“… I call upon the Chair Council to make funds available so that we also visit Dar es Salaam Port not only as CTI Committee but the Assembly as a whole so as to enable EALA MPs be informed about Dar es Salaam Port.
“As MPs of EA we are duty bound to understand and be fully aware of the status of Dar es Salaam Port, what challenges are facing the business community and other stakeholders, and how they are being dealt with,” said Dora Byamukama.
Deputy Minister for the East African Cooperation, Dr Abdalla Saadala stated that despite the geo-political turbulences and challenges, EAC stakeholders are determined to ensure that regional integration is realised.
He noted that Tanzania was keen to reduce and significantly so, the number of weighbridges and roadblocks with the entry of Single Customs Territory (SCT).
EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera also remarked that the piloting of the SCT on both the northern and central corridor was on track.
“Two products — wheat grain and fuel are currently being piloted under the SCT arrangement in Republics of Burundi and Rwanda. The pilot project is expected to end with the full roll out,” Sezibera said, adding that, the costs of doing business had been tremendously reduced.
Source: IPP Media
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.