Business
EABC decries non-tariff barriers
Publish Date: Apr 05, 2014
EABC decries non-tariff barriers
Olive Kigongo, president of the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Francis Kagolo in Arusha

The continued imposing of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) by the East African Community (EAC) member states is limiting the growth of the private sector and slowing down integration, experts have said.


The East African Business Council (EABC) on Friday urged EAC member states to accept to open up and work as one entity if the region is to develop and overcome challenges of unemployment.

The EABC chairman, Vimal Shah, said the spirit of individualism among member states not only hampers foreign direct investments, but also disables the growth of businesses in the region.

“We have a population of 130 million people in east Africa with a GDP of $90b. We need to create more jobs to increase our GDP to more than $100b,” Shah said.

“Nothing is stopping us from reaching there apart from ourselves and our mistrust. The private sector is becoming impatient in terms of implementing EAC agreements.”

He was speaking at the opening of the 15th EABC annual general meeting at the East Africa Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

Established in 1997, the EABC is the apex body of business associations of the private sector and corporate from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, the five member countries of EAC.

It focuses on informing public policy reforms aimed at promoting an environment in the region conducive to business formation and growth.
Intra-EAC trade has expanded from $1,617.1m to $3,800.7m in 2010, while the growth informal cross-border trade has been estimated to be as much as 40% of formal trade.

But EABC argues that greater achievements of the integration are hampered by the different measures taken by governments in form of laws, regulations, policies, conditions and restrictions that protect the domestic industries from foreign competition.

The 2004 Community Customs Union and the 2009 Common Market protocols, already ratified all the five member states, provide for the free movement of labour and goods within the region to spur trade liberalisation and development.

Shah said he had met many investors especially in Europe who would be willing to invest in east Africa but are let down by the enormous non-tariff barriers.

He also cited the failure by member states to market east Africa as a single block other than their individual countries as another impediment to foreign investments.

Olive Kigongo, president of the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, decried the delay by member states to rid east Africans of the need to apply for work permits to get employed there.

She said that save for Rwanda, which has removed the requirement for work permits, other member states are yet to implement the EAC condition.

“We need to talk less and work more. We need to implement the policies we come up with,” Kigongo said in an exclusive interview.
“The free flow of services needs to be expedited. As private sector we are becoming impatient. Let us allow free movement of labor, if we get problems along the way we will address them as a region not independently,” Shah added.

Besides EAC protocols, the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) has also passed a series of legislations which call for harmonisation of trade in the partner states,  but with such non-tariff barriers, trade movement remains a challenge in the region.

The World Bank Doing Business 2013 report highlighted NTBs as one of the key challenges the region is faced with. Besides NTBs, inadequate infrastructure and bottlenecks, particularly roads, railways and energy have also hindered progress in a number of ways.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
EADB to fund more projects in Uganda
The East African Development Bank (EADB) has received credit worth $40m (about sh104b) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, transport, education and health projects...
Quacks in construction industry a big threat to Vision 2040
Players in the construction industry have asked the Government to regulate it, saying increasing numbers of quacks will affect efforts to attain the Uganda Vision 2040....
NSSF to save Uganda Clays from collapse
It is now or never for Uganda Clays Limited (UCL). The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has announced that it will convert a sh16.7b loan to UCL into equity in a bid to secure the company’s future....
UAE Exchange Uganda celebrates, brand turns 34 globally
UAE Exchange Uganda joins its global family in celebrating the 34th anniversary of the brand coming into existence...
Former health ministry accountant to go on trial over illicit enrichment
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the prosecution of former principal accountant, Ministry of Health, Nestor Machumbi Gasasira, should proceed in the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court....
Martin Aliker is new NIC chief
Dr. Martin Aliker, the senior presidential adviser on special duties, has been appointed the acting chairman of the National Insurance Corporation, following the death of the chairman, Dr. Remi Olowude, last month....
Should diplomatic passports issued to ex-govt workers be with drawn?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter