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Rwanda, Uganda look to eliminate NTBs

The coordinator of the national monitoring committee on elimination of trade barriers, Vincent Safari, has said plans are underway to coordinate all institutions working at the borders to avoid bureaucracies that traders encounter.

He also said Cyanika border working hours were extended to 16 hours to facilitate free movement.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Hategeka, described the trade barriers as challenges that could hinder regional integration.

“If we do not align our trade practices with the EAC Treaty and the Protocols, we stand the danger of losing the benefits of integration.” he asserted.

“The traditional problems of inefficient port procedures, cumbersome customs and other administrative requirements, police checks at road blocks, and multiple weighing of trucks still remain. We should take this assessment as a basis for a deep examination of the contribution we can make to improve the situation”,

This was said during a bilateral meeting between Rwanda and Uganda to assess the progress in the implementation of the trade agreement signed early this year.

The meeting noted that the two countries implemented the agreement but more trade barriers still exist especially weighbridges in Uganda that continue hindering the free movement of trucks.

To ensure effective facilitation of business community, Rwanda and Uganda say there is still more that needs to be done to improve doing business in the region.

Kassim Omar, the Ugandan coordinator of national monitoring committee, observed that his government has immensely improved in elimination of trade barriers citing the removal of Mubende weighbridge. He said more would be removed.

Others include Rukaya weighbridge, Busitema and Mbarara in western Uganda where most of Rwanda’s traders pass.

“It’s horrible, why would trucks be weighed several times within the same country? I’m a truck driver; I have experienced this in Kenya and Uganda. We should implement what we agreed on,” Omar told The New Times in an interview.

He further mentioned that Uganda was still committed to removing the barriers to facilitate traders.

Other challenges hampering the regional business communities are poor infrastructure and corruption.

By Eric Kabeera,
The New Times
27 June 2012