EALA representatives want improved EAC cross border policies

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Committee on Communication, Trade and Investment want the East African Community (EAC) partner states to improve policies relating to movement of persons and goods among the partner states.

Mathias Kasamba of EALA who is leading a team of the committee members expressed concern that some EAC partner states don’t recognise National Identity cards from other countries in the community while others still operate a visa system.

While Article 104 of the EAC Treaty provides for the free movement of persons, labour and services, to enter South Sudan, the community’s newest member, nationals from other EAC partner states must have visa.

While Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda recognise National Identification cards as travel documents that can be used when travelling between the 3 partner states, to enter Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan, an East African citizen must have a passport or inter-state passes which Kasamba said need to be urgently addressed.

Kasamba (in brown) interacting with traders at the Kabanga – Kobero boarder post

This was during an oversight visit by the EALA members to the Kabanga – Kobero boarder post along the Tanzanian and Burundian border.

The main objective of the visit was to assess the progress of the implementation of the EAC Single Customs Territory (SCT).

What the committee found to be shocking is that this particular border post closes at 6pm which is another hindrance to inter-state trade as provided for under Article 5 of the EAC Common Market Protocol.