Tanzania’s recent move to cut resident permit fees for residents of the East African Community bloc (EAC) has been described as a good gesture.
The country’s Ministry of Home Affairs reduced by half, to $500 for the A-4 category resident permit for small-scale traders, businesses, artisans, fishing, farming or any legally recognised activity.
The permits are for renewal every two years.
Rwandan members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) commended the gesture from Tanzania but added that East Africa’s largest nation should now scrap the fees altogether.
Martin Ngoga said: “It is a good development and marks good progress towards approximation of our laws in the EAC. It is a boost towards enjoyment of the freedoms provided by the common market protocol. We certainly still have a lot to do in that direction and, in so doing, we need to appreciate every step we make along the way. Some partner states waived, totally, these fees.”
The Assembly has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the lack of harmonisation and approximation of national laws in the region, which they say negatively affects cross-border business, and the integration agenda.
MP Straton Ndikuryayo, a member of EALA’s standing Committee on Communication, Trade and Investment (CTI), noted that Tanzania’s President John Magufuli made a commendable step.
“The reduction of the amount by 50 percent is a big step in line with facilitating free movement of people, capital, and goods. However, my wish is to see a total waiver of work or resident permit for EAC citizens as has been done by other countries. Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya set a good example on this matter,” Ndikuryayo said.
Furthermore, under the resident permit class B, people offered specific employment by specific employers and have specific qualifications and experience will now pay $500 instead of $2,000. This also goes for professionals, technicians associate professionals from partner states as prescribed in the schedule to the EAC Common Market Protocol regarding regulations of free movement of workers.
As regards residence permit class C, researchers and retired people will pay $250, down from $500.
Class C resident permit fees reduced include persons engaged in approved religious activities such as missionaries ($100), volunteers or people engaged in non-remunerated activities ($100), NGO employees ($250), and persons attending medical treatment at recognised medical institutions ($100).
Persons studying in approved training establishments, including children of persons legally residing in Tanzania who are above the age of 18 who previously paid $200, will now get the Student Pass-1 free of charge.
The same goes for children below 18.