Covid-19 - Different Tax Policies Complicate Trade in EAC Bloc

Growing concern amongst the business community about Covid-19 lockdown measures were addressed at the post East African Community tax and budget dialogue meeting for 2021/2022, held in Kampala, where participants suggested ways of easing trade.

An official said EAC countries still operate dissimilar tax policies which defeats the essence of the EAC Customs Union, that provides for the Common External Tariff (CET) as one of its pillars. They added that gaps in the implementation of CET raises the prospect of goods smuggling, especially if tax rates differ. Established in 2004, the CET was designed to provide a stable, transparent and predictable trade regime, in order to enhance domestic production, attract investment and create a uniform trade policy across the region.

Officials have urged the EAC Regional Coordination Committee to harmonise the Covid-19 testing charges, validity, and mutual recognition of the certificates with a view to ensure safe and smooth movement of goods and persons in the region.

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