The Ministry of East African Community with Private Sector Federation held the 3rd breakfast meeting with the Business Community on 23rd of April, 2015 with the focus on accelerating the removal of Non-tariff Barriers along the central corridor.
The meeting was attended by leading businessmen and women from different companies and sectors ranging from transport, logistics, export-import, mining, manufacturing, freight forwarders and shippers that predominantly use the central corridor for business.
The central corridor is a trade and transport corridor which covers the United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This corridor is important for Rwanda’s trade as it accounts for over 60% of the regional trade. This is why the meeting’s purpose is to create initiatives that aim at improving the central corridor with a direct impact on transport costs and then contribute to the reduction of the cost of doing business in Rwanda.
Commitments and facilitation measures
Presenting the progress in of removing NTBs in central corridor, the Minister of MINEAC, Valentine Rugwabiza enumerated a number of commitment that were made, including the launch in June this 2015 of the construction of a new standard gauge railway from Dar Es Salaam to Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda, the expansion of Dar Es Salaam port and the development of a new Inland container depots away from the city center to decongest the port.
In addition to this, facilitation measures aimed at making the trade easier across the border have been implemented. Among them, the Minister mentioned the launch in June 2014 of single customs territory, the transit time reduction from 10 to 6 days from Dar Es Salaam to Kigali due to weighbridges reduced from 8 to 7 and roadblocks reduced from 53 in 2010 to 8 in 2014.
Other measures are the creation of one stop center at the port, EAC bill on NTBs, harmonization of Rwanda and Tanzania road tolls from 500 USD to 152USD, introduction of electronic cargo tracking system where the result is that trucks no longer stop at all 4 revenue check points along the corridor and the lunch of Rwanda and Tanzania new Rusumo bridge.
Speaking at the occasion, PSF vice chairman Mr. Claver Mugabo stressed the commitment of business community members to boost employment and increase income of Rwandans and congratulate MINEAC for effort in advocacy to remove NTBs and request the Ministry to update regularly PSF on implementation and progress concerning harmonization of laws and policies in doing business in the region which will promote the competitiveness.