Ministry of Trade Gets Shs 3.5B to Mitigate Non-Tariff Barriers
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has agreed to extend a $1.4m (sh3.5m) grant to the ministry of trade, industry and cooperatives
to help government eliminate the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) currently constraining the flow of trade across the region.
The partnership agreement was signed by the trade minister Amelia Kyambadde and David Stanton, the TMEA deputy chief executive officer at function held at the ministry last week.
The money will finance and strengthen operations of ministryâ€™s National Monitoring Committees (NMCs) on NTBs as it advocates for mitigation of hurdles to trade at both national and regional levels.
The project focuses on improving mechanisms for elimination of cross-border NTBs through improved reporting by the private sector and expeditious coordination by the trade ministry for remedial action.
â€œGovernment is already focused on NTB elimination through improving physical infrastructure like roads, power, and railway network among others, to foster economic growth. I note with gratitude that the support from TradeMark is timely as it will strengthen the advocacy and monitoring efforts on NTBsâ€, said Kyambadde.
Stanton noted that the major project components will include setting up of an information exchange system that will lead to improved NTB reporting to improve institutional coordination to eliminate NTBs as well asÂ putting in place a communication and advocacy strategy to eliminate trade hurdlesÂ and realigning national trade laws, regulations and agency structures to streamline trade.
â€œWe are hopeful that the support will be useful in reducing transport and related costs along the key corridors in the region, supporting EAC institutions to develop a comprehensive framework for regional integration and support partner states to substantially increase the implementation of a comprehensive framework for regional integration,â€ he said.
NTBs are a major contributor to the cost of doing business in Uganda and the EAC generally. The landlocked countries suffer the greatest loss from NTBs due to distance from the main ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
A poor road infrastructure, delays at border crossings and lack of harmonized import and export standards and procedures are among the most mentioned NTBs in this context.
As a result, the cost of imports of one container in Uganda, for example, is more than 3.5 times higher than in Tanzania and 2.5 times higher than in Kenya.
TMEA supports key ministries and agencies to participate more effectively in EAC negotiation processes and implement decisions accordingly.
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