COUNTIES URGED TO SUPPORT CROSS BORDER TRADE
By Michael Okidi
National and County Government officials have been urged to play a supportive role in promoting the East African Community Integration process by putting in place mechanisms favourable for cross order trade and investments.
East African Community and Northern Corridor development Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya, said it was important for officials in Counties bordering other EAC Partner
States to aid free flow of goods across their areas instead of being a stumbling block to smooth traffic flow.
He cited the numerous road blocks usually erected along major transit highways and other prohibitive traffic regulations that he said were major impediments to regional trade.
Mr Munya was speaking in Kitale during a sensitization workshop on the EAC integration process for Members of County Assemblies and County Executive Committee Members drawn from Tuakana, West Pokot, Busia and Bungoma.
The Cabinet Secretary said that for Kenya to effectively and profitably utilize the port of Mombasa, cargo tracks destined for other parts of East Africa must be accorded easy transit opportunities so that they do not divert to other competing ports of entry into the region.
He noted that the construction of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) at major border crossing points was already showing signs of massive success, with the ones already
operational indicating reduction of time spent at border clearances by over 60 per cent. Earlier, during a courtesy call on Trans Nzoia Governor, Patrick Khaemba, Mr Munya enumerated the various successes so far registered under the EAC integration process, such as improved road and rail networks and increased cross border investments.
He urged the County Governments to allow investors from other EAC Partner States into their counties as a way of increasing foreign direct investments for enhanced foreign exchange earnings.
2 Earlier, Governor Khaemba had urged the Ministry of EAC and Northern Corridor development to explore alternative markets for the country’s maize so that farmers do not undergo losses.
He further called for harmonized implementation of EAC decisions, programmes and projects so that the integration journey does not leave out certain sections of the region.
His concerns emanated from reports that issues like the single tourist visa and the use of identity cards as travel documents were yet to be implemented by other EAC Partner States.