Kampala- The East African Business Council (EABC) has said they have started moving across EAC member states to understand why goods and services are not moving freely as envisaged.
Speaking at the CEO’s roundtable breakfast meeting yesterday, Mr Peter Mathuki, the EABC chief executive officer, said they want to understand why goods and services are not moving freely within the East African region yet we claim to be a regional market without trade barriers.
“East Africa intra-trade is at 16 per cent, SADC at 47 per cent, European Union is slightly over 70 per cent. We need to address the non-tariff barriers through close collaboration to increase intra-trade,” he said.
Case of non-tariff barriers that limit the movement of goods have been reported across the region with some countries blocking goods from other member states.
Mr Mathuki said much as Uganda is land locked, there are lessons it can learn from her surplus balance of payments with Kenya.
Uganda has seen a sustained growth in its exports to the region.
According to Mr Gideon Badagawa, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda Executive director, the continued existence of the non-tariff barriers has resulted into failure of market harmonising in terms of standards and fees structure.
“East African Community is driven and centred on people. It is people who cross the borders, and this is driven by entrepreneurship, investment, capital and if these cannot move, then forget about the integration,” he said.