28 April 2011

Kenya: Local Traders Suffer Bias in Tanzania, Says Minister

Nairobi — The East African common market is doomed to fail unless trading rules are harmonised across the border, a Cabinet minister has warned.

Dr Naomi Shaban said recently: "It's unfair for Tanzanian traders to move freely with their goods to Kenya yet our people face many hurdles to enter their country."

The common market protocol came into effect in July last year and has been described as a stumbling block to Kenyans accessing the Tanzanian market.

The arrangement would be fair if the rules were uniform in all member states, said Dr Shaban, who is the Gender and Children's Affairs minister.

This comes after the East African Community member states opened their borders for free movement of goods, services, labour and people across member states.

The minister said this was not happening to Kenyans travelling to other countries.

She said the East African Community secretariat and the East African Legislative Assembly should formulate uniform laws to govern all the states.

Recently during a workshop in Voi town, East African community permanent secretary David Nalo said the protocol was working well except for a few laws that needed to be harmonised.

He said plans were under way to harmonise education so that exam certificates were acceptable in all the countries.

An inter-State taskforce was working on the curriculum that would enable a Kenyan trained teacher to be equivalent to one trained in Rwanda.

Also planned are machine-readable national identity cards to replace those in use now to enable free movement of people as required by the law.

Passports were still required to cross borders. Only Rwanda has third generation identity cards that can be used as passports.

Kenya will soon have similar IDs but the other countries do not have national identity cards yet.

This, Mr Nalo said, was for security purposes because no country would allow foreigners to flock in and out without proper checks.

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