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EAC Adopts Non-Tariff Barriers Mobile App :: Uganda Radionetwork

EAC Adopts Non-Tariff Barriers Mobile App

The meeting directed Uganda and Kenya to hold a bilateral meeting to resolve NTB 000-864 on discriminatory excise duty on juice by 30th June, 2024 and report to the 45th SCTIFI
The East African Community-EAC Secretariat and Partner States have been directed to implement the mobile phone-based application in the fight against non-tariff barriers by April 30.

The 43rd Ministerial Session of the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) also directed the commencement of awareness campaigns about the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) Mobile Application.

The app launched in December last year with support from Trademark East Africa, was developed to ease the reporting, monitoring, and elimination of NTBs in the Community.

The EAC NTBs App allows the users to report complaints in either English, Swahili, or French, the three official languages of the Community. It can be downloaded from the Apple Store, Google’s Play Store, and other Android devices, or accessed through  www.eac-mobile.portal.africa

NTBs have been a major stumbling block to the implementation of the EAC integration agenda, whose main aim was to propel the region's development through trade.

NTBs are a hindrance to international trade, apart from import or export duties, and include import quotas, subsidies, customs delays, technical barriers, or other systems preventing or impeding trade.

Regarding the status of the resolution of NTBs for the period July to November 2023, the Ministers were informed that nine remain outstanding while two were resolved.  This brings to 269 the number of NTBs that have been resolved since 2007.

The Ministers noted that NTB-001-114 on exercise books between the Republic of Uganda and Kenya was resolved through the amended VAT Act of 2022.

Kenya had complained to the Council that Uganda was applying the 17 percent VAT on exercise books from Kenya while exempting Ugandan manufacturers, which, according to Kenya, was discrimination amongst EAC member-states.

The meeting directed the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Kenya to hold a bilateral meeting to resolve NTB 000-864 on discriminatory excise duty on juice by 30th June 2024 and report to the 45th SCTIFI.

This also arose from a complaint that Uganda was charging a full Common External Tariff (CET) of 35 percent on juices originating from Kenya, which violated the treaty provisions.

Among the resolved NTBs were the 25 percent Excise Duty by Kenya on Ugandan table eggs, as well as onions, potatoes, potato crisps, and chips from Uganda. These became effective July 1, 2022.

The Sectoral Council has also directed Kenya and Tanzania to undertake a joint verification on motorcycle accessories transferred from Kenya to Tanzania by June 30 this year and report to the 45th SCTIFI.

The Ministers directed the Secretariat to prioritize the harmonization of calibration services for the road tankers in the Region in the financial year 2024/2025, to ensure smooth and harmonized movement of the goods.

Partner States were further directed to rationalize the issuance of various permits and licensing requirements to eliminate those that are not necessary to meet the objectives being sought by the private sector.

Speaking during the opening session of the Ministerial Session, the Chairperson of the SCTIFI, William Anyuon Kuol Wol, observed that efforts to reduce NTBs within the EAC have been commendable.

“However, to sustain this progress, it was imperative for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to play a pivotal role in holding the EAC accountable and in devising effective mechanisms to address and monitor the reduction of NTBs,” said Hon. Wol.

EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki said that there has been a consistent upward trend in intra-trade values, from 8.7 billion dollars in 2021/2022 to 9.4 billion last financial year.

“This demonstrated a robust trading environment among EAC Partner States, with a notable growth of approximately 7.98 percent,” said Dr. Mathuki.

Dr. Mathuki urged the Ministers to address issues relating to the denial of preferential market access for EAC-originating goods, non-ratification of key EAC instruments, and cross-border challenges affecting the free movement of goods and persons and resolution of existing NTBs.

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