The East African Business Council (EABC) has declared its stand for the lowering and harmonization of COVID-19 related charges in the East African Community. This move is in a bid to ease the cost of doing business and boost intra EAC (East African Community) trade.

The Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates from the 6 East African countries, namely, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The harmonization process is set to support businesses to be more resilient and rebound amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. Currently, Covid-19 tests are priced differently in each EAC partner states, while containment measures are varied.

“The EAC Secretariat should fast track regional coordination and harmonization of measures on COVID-19 for economic resilience and growth of the EAC bloc,” said Dr. Mathuki, CEO EABC.

EABC also claims that the lack of harmonization of COVID-19 testing rates in accredited laboratories and uncoordinated waiting time for the test results is disrupting cross-border trade. COVID-19 related Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) have also continued to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on COVID-19 in the region.

Dr. Mathuki noted that reduction and harmonization of COVID-19 related NTBs will also enable businesses to tap into the opportunities availed by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Different preventive and restrictive measures undertaken by EAC Partner States to control the spread of COVID-19 have been seen to have significantly slowed down trade, movement of persons and integration.