East Africa – Harmonisation of Border Procedures

Operations of all agencies working at border posts should be harmonised if the East African countries are to easily facilitate movement of goods and persons at their borders, Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) has said. TMEA is a multi-donor funded agency that provides support for increased regional trade and economic integration in East Africa.

It takes a trader importing goods from the EAC member countries an average of 30 minutes to process documents, at the Gatuna/Katuna border. Border agencies need to collaborate on planning, monitoring, organisation and other related activities to ease the movement of traders, according to Theo Lyimo, TMEA’s director of Integrated Border Management and One Stop Border Posts.

This was at the sidelines of a one-day workshop on the establishment of the Integrated Border Management Concept and presentation on the final design of Kagitumba One Stop Border Post facilities. “Integrated border management should have a system controlling all the agencies at the borders and this will help to eliminate all trade challenges affecting the region including high prices of products, high costs of transport and others,” he noted. He cited the Chirundu Integrated border management between Zambia and Zimbabwe which he said had totally cleared trade barriers between the two countries.

However, though the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) had been introduced at some borders of the EAC member countries, they are yet to yield the expected results as traders still encounter some challenges.

The establishment of Integrated Border Management has been recognised as one of the ten building blocks of Customs in the 21st Century, a new strategic perspective and policy agreed upon by heads of the world’s customs administrations to shape the role of Customs in the current century, a century with unique demands.

Better border management entails coordination and cooperation among all the relevant authorities and agencies involved in border regulatory requirements,” said Tusabe Jane Nkubana, chairman of the exporters association, welcomed the border management saying that traders have always been affected by delays at the border posts leading to an increase in the cost of goods.

Delays at the borders are some of the non-tariff barriers affecting us in the region, and if the operations of agencies are harmonised, this would reduce on the time we spend clearing goods at the borders. Transport costs in East Africa are regarded amongst the highest in the world damaging the region’s ability to trade competitively in the international market, according to economic experts. Source: AllAfrica.com


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