PUBLISHED ON July 24th, 2014


Regional business leaders and officials from trade facilitation institutions will meet tomorrow to discuss mechanisms on how to solve challenges facing business, especially cross-border trade in the East Africa region.

The meeting, that takes place in Arusha, Tanzania, also seeks to create a direct link between traders and officials from regional tax bodies, bureaus of standards and customs, according to Andrew Luzze, the East African Business Council executive director.

“We are going to examine measures put in place to address the challenges we face and how to sensitize the business community to understand the role of trade facilitation institutions across the region,” Luzee said in a statement.

He said there are still several challenges facing businesses across the EAC block despite gains made in the recent past.

These include poor infrastructure, lack of regional enforcement mechanism to address non-compliance to regional instruments, stringent requirements for pre-packaged foods, harmonized border management issues including border operating hours, varying tax regimes and numerous institutions involved in the levying and inspection of goods.

“We expect to come up with recommendations and an action plan that will guide us on how to move forward by the end of the meeting,” Luzee told The New Times.

Denis Karera, Rwanda’s representative and Council board member, said the meeting is in line with the Council’s obligation to facilitate regional trade.

The only way we can facilitate trade is to sensitize our members about the roles played by these institutions.

However, it is also imperative that a dialogue that can lead to the harmonization of the most patent issues affecting regional trade be created between business community and the responsible institutions to further reduce the cost of doing trade,” he said.

He noted that it is also important that a trader from Rwanda, for instance, understands how institutions across partner states operate so that if he is to advocate for a change in trade policy, they have their ground firm.

Source: The New Times

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