East Africa Community Secretary General Peter Mathuki has called for harmonization of business standards across East Africa to boost EAC intra trade.
Speaking at Namanga One Stop Border post when he led a high powered delegation from Kenya and Tanzania for an impromptu visit Mathuki reiterated member states commitment for seamless bilateral trade.
He said there were some Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) at the border entry prompting slow business flow, and called for a harmonized standard of business between Kenya and Tanzania especially on taxes.
The traders called for the harmonization of taxes and charges across the region, reduction of weigh bridge costs and punitive fines imposed across borders.
Mathuki said intra trade within EAC stagnantly stands at 15 percent currently projecting a triple digit growth in the next five years to 45 percent.
He said the lukewarm relationship between the neighbouring countries especially from the onset of maize importation ban has reduced imports and exports to Kenya and vice versa.
Mathuki also noted that small and medium enterprises have borne the brunt of strained relationships in the past resulting in illegal goods vie clandestine routes.
He said EAC is pushing for free movement of goods within EA to reduce the cost of doing business with hope SMEs will either import or export goods following the right channels.
EAC Secretariat is set to avail a trade hotline providing cross-border traders with a platform to register their challenges and get prompt feedback, across all EAC border posts.
Tanzania Ambassador to Kenya, John Stephen Simbachawene said importation of maize into the country has resumed in large volumes.
He encouraged traders to seize the opportunity of good relationship brokered by President Kenyatta and his Tanzania counterpart Samia Suluhu recently.
The same sentiments were echoed by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Namanga Station Manager, Joseph Moywaywa saying importation indexes were rising.
The visit comes two days after the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary visited Namanga and ordered Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to stop registering maize already registered by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service(KPHIS) to avoid unnecessary cross border crisis.