East African business body calls for harmonisation of COVID-19 related charges

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Dar es Salaam, Jan. 11, 2021 (Xinhua/NAN) The East African Business Council (EABC) has called for lowering and harmonisation of COVID-19 related charges in the East African Community (EAC).

This is with a view to easing the cost of doing business and boost intra-regional trade.

The EABC said in a statement, on Monday, that the harmonisation of COVID-19 related charges would help to support businesses to be more resilient and rebound amid the pandemic.

Currently, COVID-19 test is priced differently in each EAC member states, said the statement.

It added that Tanzania and Burundi “are now charging a standard rate of $100 for both nationals and foreigners while charges in other EAC member states vary’’.

The EAC member states are Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

“The EAC secretariat should fast track regional coordination and harmonisation of measures on COVID-19 for economic resilience and growth of the EAC bloc,’’ Peter Mathuki, the EABC’s Chief Executive Officer, said.

Mathuki also called for the establishment of a common quarantine period in the region and fast-tracking of the waiting time for COVID-19 test results.

The statement added that the lack of harmonisation of COVID-19 test rates in accredited laboratories and uncoordinated waiting time for the test results is disrupting cross-border trade.

COVID-19 related non-tariff barriers continue to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on COVID-19 in the region, according to the statement.

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