The East African Industry Captains convened in Arusha, Tanzania last week to chart out regional policy priorities geared to spur intra-EAC trade to over 30%.
The regional policy priorities were presented to the incoming EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki who assumed office on 23rd April 2021, in a bid to inform his vision of transforming the EAC into a prosperous, inclusive, trade and investment bloc.
“As the industry leaders we have analyzed key trade and investment barriers, delaying East African businesses to take full advantage of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market, said Mr. John Bosco Rusagara representing EABC Chairman Mr. Nick Nesbitt at the meeting.
Finalization of the comprehensive review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) to boost industrialization and regional value chains; the quick elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers and operationalization of the Committee on Trade Remedies to handle trade disputes, Implementation of the Standardization Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SACA) Bill, 2017; and finalization of the Regulations on Free Movement of Services and Service Suppliers are among the top agenda.
The business leaders have also urged the EAC Secretariat to mainstream and progressively harmonize domestic taxes such as excise duty, Value Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax.
Domestication of EAC Air Space by according to national treatment to EAC national air operators, passengers and cargo will reduce air ticket cost hence attract more tourists into the region plus boost consolidation and exports of fresh horticultural and fish.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global, regional value chains and cross border business operations, this calls for the need of harmonization of measures and regional coordinated approach on handling COVID-19 shall boost economic resilience and growth of the EAC bloc,” said Rusagara.
The East Africa private sector presented the regional priority issues during the Evening Gala Dinner with EAC Secretary General under the themed” Deepening collaboration between the EAC and the Private Sector”.
Among the key dignitaries that attended the Evening Gala Dinner included the Chair of the EAC Council of Ministers, Mr. Cosmas Kimario, Managing Director, KCB -TZ and Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki, the new EAC Secretary General.
The Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA), the apex body of clearing and forwarding agents in the region, was represented by the Mr. Elias Baluku, the Acting Executive Director who attended the meeting virtually.
The Evening Reception was organized in partnership with GIZ- Business Scouts for Development Program, funded by the German Ministry for economic cooperation, BMZ.