TRADE volume between Tanzania and Kenya is growing by the day, if the long queue of trucks heading to the neighbouring country witnessed recently is anything to go by.
Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Assistant Regional Manager (Customs) in Arusha Region Paul Kamukulu informed the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development that Tanzania had exported 700,000 tonnes of agricultural related raw materials and minerals to Kenya during financial year 2021/22 from 400,000 tonnes that was exported in 2020/21 fiscal year.
“The long queues could be a blessing in disguise as trade volume is on the rise,” explained Mr Kamukulu, after the House committee visited the Namanga One Stop Border Post over the weekend.
According to the TRA official, Kenya’s exports to Tanzania also shot up from 65,000 tonnes to 135,000 in the same period, with Tanzania importing a great deal of finished products from the neighbouring country.
Despite the good news from the taxman, the long queues witnessed at the border rubbed the drivers of the long distance trucks the wrong way, with some complaining about spending more time than usual at the exit point.
But in his rejoinder, Mr Kamukulu asserted that the priority has always been to clear trucks carrying perishable goods.
“The problem is felt on the Kenyan side, but we always let trucks with perishable commodities cleared first and we have and on Saturday at least 250 trucks were cleared,” he said.
On his part, the committee’s Chairperson Stanslaus Nyongo expressed his displeasure on how the Longido District Council was only pocketing 2bn/- in revenues annually, amidst a booming business in the area.
He further challenged the council executives to get back to the drawing board with a view ensuring that the district reaps benefits from business activities at the border post.
“It is unfathomable to see the district earning such a small amount of money,” wondered the lawmaker.
Earlier on, the committee visited Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) offices, both in Arusha and Namanga and commended the agency for a well-done job in scrutinising the drugs and medical devices entering and flooding the market.
“We saw by ourselves the inspection of the drugs and we are indeed satisfied with what TMDA is doing,” explained Mr Nyongo, on behalf of the parliamentary committee.
He, however, advised the government to dispatch more experts to the TMDA located at the border points in order to heighten the quality control of products such as drugs and medical devices.
On his part, TMDA Director General Adam Fimbo said his agency was still contending with unscrupulous dealers who use porous borders to smuggle unregistered medicines and medical devices.