Saturday, 21 March 2015

We’re committed to free trade in EA, Kikwete reaffirms.Drive Hot News


Arusha. Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) -- which continue to hamper intra-regional trade and flow in East Africa -- may soon become history if political pronouncements are anything to go by.
President Jakaya Kikwete says as chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit, he would ensure “the removal of all barriers to trade” in the region. He reaffirmed this in his address to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) currently holding a session in Bujumbura, Burundi, on Thursday that Tanzania would spearhead implementation of the exercise.
Significant progress has been made to reduce road blocs on the Tanzanian side along the central corridor. Police checks have been reduced to six from 15, he said.
“Our aim is to reduce them to zero except when need arises,” he said.
He told the regional Parliament that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) had also reduced the checks from three to zero along the central corridor.
He pleaded with Eala to join in the partnership to ensure the removal of all trade barriers “to make EAC the best region to do business.” Until very recently, Tanzania has been blamed for having more NTBs in the region.
The President noted that improved infrastructure would bring down the costs of doing business.
He said poor infrastructure had resulted in the upward and spiral effect of transportation costs resulting in skyrocketing of between 30-40 per cent of the price of goods especially in the landlocked countries.
He thus urged the region to invest better in efficient ports, railways, roads, aviation services, energy and telecommunications.
Eala Speaker Daniel Kidega argued for credible, free and fair elections in Burundi and Tanzania.
On Tuesday, in his address to Eala, President Pierre Nkurunziza said that the country would hold peaceful, free and fair elections.
“I wish to commend the joint initiative of the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) aimed at supporting the consolidation of democracy, reconciliation and tolerance among Burundians and political actors, with a view to achieving transparent and credible 2015 elections,” he said