CHIEF executive officers of national private sector apex body associations of the East African Community (EAC), have called for swift action to overcome impediments to cross-border cargo movement in the region. Noting the importance of the free movement of cargo across the EAC partner states during the current Covid-19 pandemic in their meeting, the officers from the six member countries of the regional grouping have recommended that they should implement a coordinated regional approach for facilitating free movement of cargo.
They want to see leaders ensure that health measures do not cause unnecessary cost and time burden to the free movement of goods and services across borders in the region.
Plus, that there should be facilitation of free movement of cargo from the point of origin to the destination.
Under the coordination of the East African B usiness Council (EAB C), the CEOs called upon the states to ensure that cargo flows smoothly and a relay system and transshipments of cargo is adopted.
They noted that the process does not lead to exorbitant costs that could adversely affect transporters and consequently consumers.
We call for issuance of certificates to truck drivers valid for a period of at least two weeks. The certificate notwithstanding, the drivers will also undergo mandatory temperature checks at the designated checkpoints. “
Ensure that all clearing and forwarding services loading and offloading equipment, as well as warehousing facilities are available at the borders to reduce border clearance time. Embark on rapid testing and joint border management. This will build confidence and fast-track movement of goods at the borders,” the CEOs said in their signed statement.
They furthermore called for an increase in the number of testing kits for truck drivers, number of health staff and other staff at the borders as well as harmonise working hours of trade facilitation agencies and essential services at the One-Stop B order Posts (OSB P) in the EAC.
National transport associations, coordinated by the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFA), has been called upon to work closely with EAB C to ensure the private sector pursued a coordinated approach for smooth movement of cargo across the region.
The CEOs also called on the private sector, in collaboration with the governments, to create awareness and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sensitise the public to avoid misinformation and stigmatization.
Plus, for truck drivers and all operators to observe the laid down guidelines on health by the respective partner states.
They saluted Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), for their role in promoting trade facilitation for increased trade and investments in the region.
They saluted the EAC Secretariat for coming up with Covid-19 administrative guidelines geared at complementing national measures against the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure smooth and uninterrupted movement of goods and services within the bloc during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
The CEOs acknowledged the paramount importance of protecting health and safety of the East African people during the pandemic and said they were committed to support efforts and measures by the governments of the EAC partner states in the battle to curb Covid-19 in the region.
Officers who signed the document are Dr Mathuki, Mr Stephen Ruzibiza – the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Private Sector Federation of Rwanda (PSF); Mr Godfrey Simbeye-Executive Director, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and Mr Gideon B adagawa-Executive Director, Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).
Others are Mr Denis Nshimirimana– the Secretary General, Federal Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture of B urundi (CFCIB ); Ms Carole Kariuki –the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA); Mr Hamad Hamad – the Executive Director, Zanzibar Chamber of Commerce (Z NCC) and Mr Simon Deng – Secretary-General, South Sudan Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (SSCCIA).
Source: Daily News
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