The East African Business Council (EABC) is calling upon the East African Community Partner States to put an end to testing of COVID-19 at border points, in order to decongest them and increase intra-EAC trade.
This follows EABC’s 3-day visits to the Busia One-Stop Border Post (OSBP), Malaba OSBP and Isebania border. This was aimed at seeking sustainable solutions to reduce recurring trucks snarl-ups which have in the last one month disrupted cross border trade and led to loss/damage of goods worth millions of shillings.
According to a report released by EABC in September, 2020, titled, ‘Impact Of Covid-19 on Business and Investments in the EAC and Proposed Recovery Measures for the EAC Economies,’ 56% of businesses have been affected by cross border restrictions since the pandemic hit the EAC bloc. 44% of businesses are still struggling to source raw materials to keep their businesses afloat.
The body is also calling for small-scale cross-border traders especially women, to be allowed to trade with adherence to Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the Ministries of Health.
EABC CEO, Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki , had this to say, “The snarl-ups are also disrupting the flow of goods thus increasing operational costs for traders, causing wastage of volumes of perishable goods and fueling corruption cases.” He also added that, “Testing Covid-19 at border points should come to a stop to ease congestion of trucks which is hindering cross-border trade and reducing trade volumes, just when the region is struggling to recover from the pandemic.”