29th October 2020
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Covid-19 testing at border points hurts regional trade

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Friday, October 16, 2020

Heavy traffic jam at Malaba border due to many trucks from abroad (PHOTO/File).

The East African Business Council has urged the partner states to end testing for coronavirus at border points, to increase trade.

“We are asking partner states to harmonize and agree that there is no testing done at border points,” Dr. Peter Mutuku, CEO, East African Business Council, told reporters in Arusha on Thursday.

In the last one month, cross border trade has been disrupted, leading to reported loss and damage of goods worth millions of dollars.

According to a report released by East African Business Council, 56 percent of businesses have been affected by cross border restrictions since the pandemic hit the region.

It revealed that 44 percent of businesses are still struggling to keep their businesses running.

Dr. Mutuku recently visited the Busia One-Stop Border Post, Malaba and Isebania border to seek sustainable solutions to reduce recurring congestion of trucks.

“On the side of Uganda, we know they have been charging $65. To avid that, they have been coming on the Kenyan side to be tested for free because Kenya is testing for free,” he stated

He says the congestion at border points are also disrupting the flow of goods.

“This is causing a lot of jam in terms of testing. That’s why you see those kind of challenges at the border points,” Dr. Mathuki added.

The East African Business Council is also calling for small-scale cross-border traders especially women, to be allowed to trade with adherence to Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the Ministries of Health.

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