Arusha, February 18, 2012
Ministers from the EAC Partner States at a multi-sectoral meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, Friday endorsed a Bill that seeks to reduce incidences of overloading on the region’s road network.
The Bill, titled EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill, 2012 was discussed all of this week by EAC Partner State technocrats and Ministers responsible for Roads, Transport, Trade, EAC Affairs and Judicial Affairs. It aims to give legal force to an agreement reached last year among EAC Partner States that sets the axle load limit to 56 tonnes for commercial vehicles plying the regional road network.
The Bill is now due for consideration by the EAC Council of Ministers before it is ultimately forwarded to the East African Legislative Assembly for debate and enactment into a Community law which shall be applicable in all the Partner States. If passed, the Bill would mean payments of overloading fees are done administratively through prepaid coupons or electronic transfers while eliminating payment through the court systems, among others.
With a harmonized legal regime to govern vehicle loads in the region, businesses and governments in the EAC stand to register an estimated one billion dollars in annual savings from reduced transportation and maintenance costs respectively, according to the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Planning and Infrastructure) Dr. Enos Bukuku.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General noted that as world markets become progressively liberalized, it would be those markets that have the lowest transport and logistics costs that will attract investors, industrialists and new capital inflows among others.
“Markets with high costs will continue to be sidelined by high-end businesses and hence continue to lag behind in the generation of employment and reduction of poverty among others,” Dr. Bukuku stated, adding: “It is, therefore, a welcome move that the EAC Partner States have committed themselves to progressively address those bottlenecks leading to high costs of transport and logistics.”
In addition to lowering the cost of doing business in the region, governments in the region stand to benefit from the improved regional axle load control oversight procedures and the regional ICT connectivity of the weigh scales which the Bill envisages. Addressing the meeting Japan International Cooperation Agency representative Mr. Junichi Hanai lauded the region for the landmark achievement, noting that the Bill would be crucial to tackling a serious Non Tariff Barrier in form of different axle load limits
Source: TradeMark Africa(TMA)
TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.