Tanzania, Kenya resolve border crisis

TANZANIA and Kenya have made an agreement on all maize and other goods trucks that were held up in Namanga and Holili Border Posts to be granted entry into Kenya.

A late Saturday evening meeting between Investment, Industry, and Trade Minister Ashatu Kijaji (pictured) and her Kenyan counterpart Moses Kuria brought normalcy at Namanga border.

At least 200 trucks ferrying maize into Kenya were stuck at the Kenya-Tanzania Namanga border after the Tanzania authority stopped issuing exportation permits last week. The move had seen traders contending with huge losses, especially those who had hired trucks to ferry the grains into Kenya.

However, through his twitter handle, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Investment said that trucks held up at the otherwise busy Namanga border had been released even as he urged Kenyans importing food from Tanzania to apply for export permits.

“On the instructions of President William Ruto and his sister President Samia Suluhu Hassan, we have agreed that all Maize and other food stuff trucks that were held up in Namanga and Holili border posts will be granted entry from tonight,” posted Mr Kuria.

The Cabinet Secretary reminded Kenyan importers of food products from Tanzania to apply online for export permits to avoid inconveniences.

“Our two sister nations are committed to eliminate all trade barriers in the spirit of East African Cooperation. We are grateful to President Samia and Ruto for upholding such a spirit,” he added.

Recently, Tanzania issued new directives aimed at formalising trading of agricultural crops for its benefit, its farmers’ benefit and foreign traders.

Agriculture Minister, Hussen Bashe was categorical that such directives, especially those imposed on the purchase of cereals directly from growers, do not target any trading partner state but only laid emphasis on compliance.

“We are not banning the export of our agricultural crops but just requiring all traders to purchase the produce under formalised and outlined procedures,” he said.

This comes as the issue of tackling Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) remains an Achilles’ heel among the EAC partner states. Last week, the EAC announced it had resolved 10 NTBs as four new ones emerged.

The 42nd Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) that was held on June 6 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha was informed that eight NTBs remained outstanding and were at different levels of resolution.

The meeting chaired by Burundi’s Minister for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Marie Chantal Nijimbere, directed partner states to resolve all outstanding NTBs.

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