The East African Community (EAC) partner states imposing visa requirements on regional citizens have until November to abolish the requirement.
The Ministers expressed concern that Partner States still impose visa requirements on EAC citizens and emphasized the need to expeditiously remove the requirements, adding that such could also hinder access to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The meeting observed that it was high time the Community considered putting in place a borderless bloc to facilitate the smooth flow of capital services and goods.
The 42nd Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) held at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania was informed that eight (8) NTBs remained outstanding and were at different levels of resolution.
Ten Non-Tariff Barriers Resolved
Partner States resolved ten non-Tarrif Barriers. Among the resolved NTBs were a 25 per cent excise duty imposed by Kenya on Ugandan table eggs and a 25 per cent Kenyan excise duty on onions, potatoes, potato crisps and chips from Uganda that became effective on 1st July 2022.
Also resolved were an import ban and denial of market access by Kenya through the non-issuance of import permits for powdered milk from Uganda as a means of cushioning the surplus production and low producer prices in Kenya.
“It is in this respect that we underscore the importance of SCTIFI since it is an engine for the socio-economic transformation of the region,” said the Director of Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki.
“While we aim and work hard to increase intra-regional Trade, Non-Tariff Barriers particularly denial of market access and other institution administrative measures remains a major factor impeding the free movement of goods across the region,” said the Secretary-General.