Arusha — A new report released by the East African Business Council (EABC) shows that although the East African Community (EAC) is implementing the Common Market protocol, its implementation is still experiencing a number of hurdles.
The Common Market protocol provides for the free movement of labour, goods and services and provides for the rights of residence among others.
However the 2011 East African Community Business Climate Index (EABC-BCI) 2011 that was launched last week in Arusha, Tanzania shows that on average, customs proecedures and administrative requirements are considered by businesses as the most severe among the non-tariff barriers clusters followed by police, weighbridges, immigration.
Others are technical standards, business registration and licencing and sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
"Among the five issues under which severity levels were assesses, the issue of whether businesses experience problems in getting to know about new regulations and procedures appears as the most severe both at the EAC average and the country level," said the report that was launched last week in Arusha, Tanzania.
The survey found out that although congestion at the two East African ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam has continuously been sighted as a key bottleneck to fast and efficient clearance of imports and exports, this is due to the insufficient and ineficient cargo handling facilities, poor speed in transferring cargo from incoming vessels to the internal container depots and insufficiency in warehousing facilities for incoming cargo.
It said efficient application of immigration procedures abd administravie requirements as provided for in the respective national laws experience bottlenecks related to too many applicationts against poor institutional capacity.
"Police roadblocks and their procedures have been hampered by lack of equipment to scan content of transport goods, identifying illegal immigrants, cases of forged visas and travel documents, inability of small scale businesses to operate to understand procedures and increased incidences of overloading," said the report..
East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera who launched the report said that although the implementation of the regional customs union has led to growth in intra-trade to 67% but this is being undermined by non-tariff barriers.
"The business climate index report shows there is a lot still to be done at both the regional and national levels in order to eliminate the trade barriers and improve the lives of our people," he said.