Relief as Dar Strikes Out Fee for EA Trucks
Tanzania will now scrap a US$200 fee for trucks entering the country from East Africa and waive visa on visiting business people from the region. The countries decided to remove roadblocks and replace them with electronic cargo tracking systems and police patrol by December. It was also decided that Container Freight Services companies will now charge the same rates as port authorities.
The partner states also agreed to identify borders and port to be put on 24-hour operations. Transit vehicles will be weighed twice from the port of entry and port of exit for Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda while Tanzania awaits the findings of a study on the establishment of the weighbridges. It was resolved that Certificates of Rules of Origin from each partner state should be fully recognised by other member countries in the economic bloc
EALA Passes the EAC Human Rights Bill
The Eat African Legislative Assembly passed the EAC Human Rights Bill, 2012 paving the way for a new law should the EAC Heads of state assent to it. This comes in the wake of human rights violation, especially harassment by police of peaceful demonstrators. A group of Ugandan recently stripped to their bras to protest against sexual assault by Ugandan police against a high profile female opposition politician
Strict Rules Fuel Illegal Trade at EA Border Points
High demand for food and strict custom checks has fuelled informal trade at the Kenya-Tanzania-Uganda borders. Data from the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network shows that 31,177 tonnes of maize crossed the border from Uganda to Kenya in January compared to 18,206 tonnes in December 2011. Traders blamed bureaucracy, high duties imposed on some commodities, corruption and strict safety standards required for imports for the growth of the informal trade.
Food shortage in Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan has led to high demand of produce from Tanzania and Uganda. However, safety of the informal imports remains a big challenge with the moisture content of various grains found to exceed recommended levels posing a health hazard.