Member states of the East African Community have been urged to have a coordinated approach in solving issues affecting Busia and Malaba borders.
Speaking during a visit to the facility on Monday, the Director of East Africa Business Council Peter Mathuki said that Busia border is very strategic to both Kenya and Uganda in terms of trade.
“We know that Covid-19 has brought in a challenge in terms of cash flow and businesses,” he said.
Mathuki stated that EAC Member states stand to lose between 37 to 70 billion US dollars in terms of cash flow because of Covid-19. “It is therefore important that we work together so that we do not continue making loses,” he said.
He further stated that Kenya loses almost 75% in terms of logistics, 37% in manufacturing, 12to 15% in Agriculture and 92% in tourism sector.
“It requires the private sector and government to work together to resolve the issues affecting the border,” he said adding that the border is strategic to both Kenya and Uganda.
The official disclosed that Kenya has exported close 284 billion US dollars from January to June this year compared to which was around 239 US dollars.
Concerning afflatoxin, Mathuki pointed out that the East African Community Member States launched a policy but its implementation was still poor.
“Realizing that 40% of the food we find in the market is contaminated the monies in terms of export that we are losing as partner states within EAC is close to 250 US dollars,” he said adding that there is need to work together in addressing the issue.
The Principal Secretary for East African Community and Regional Development Dr. Kevit Desai reiterated the importance for member states to come together and provide collective leadership and responsibility in addressing the key issues.
“It is important that we come together, identify challenges and find
solutions to problems that we face cross the value chain,” he said adding that the initiative is not easy because the value chain of transport and cross border trade can support other business.
He underscored the need for the government to work together in order to provide solutions to the problems.
Busia County chairman of the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sylvester Abungu said that the business community in Busia was hard hit by Covid-19.
Abungu stated that most of the local residents rely on cross border trade requesting for a partner to help traders come up with a recovery plan.
“Women traders have been hard hit here,” he said adding that having a
partner to help them will be highly appreciated.
He further proposed that the government should establish a pipleline
from Mombasa to Busia so as to help in the problem of truck congestion.
The official at the same time called for the establishment of a privately owned port at Malaba border so that truck drivers do not cross over to Uganda but cargo owners come to collect them as another alternative way of resolving the issue of trucks along the border.
By Salome Alwanda