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Dar es Salaam August 25, 2014: The government has assured East African Community (EAC) partner states and business fraternity in Tanzania that the country is committed to eliminating Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

The Deputy Permanent Secretary for East African Cooperation Mr. Amantius Msole made the remarks today during a press conference ahead of this week’s East African Legislative Assembly seating in Dar es Salaam.

Mr Msole said apart from other measures, the government has embarked on construction of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) in order to facilitate cross border trade in the region.

With OSBPs traders or passengers from one country will only go through procedures on one side instead of twice in order to cut time and cost.

Another measure he noted was the elimination of inspection centres long the Central Corridor whereby they will be reduced from current 15 to just three.

He said the three inspection centres are being installed at Vigwaza (Bagamoyo), Manyoni (Singida) and Nyakanazi (Kagera).

Mr Msole explained that under the new arrangement, all inspection activities will be done at one place which includes weighing, customs, police and any other formalities.

Earlier on the Speaker of the EALA Rt Honorable Dr Margaret Zziwa called on EAC member states to devise and enforce a suitable mechanism for eradication of NTBs.

“Despite the notable progress, there are challenges. We need to ensure that Non-Tariff Barriers are effectively addressed.  A suitable mechanism should be put in place and enforced and as EALA, we shall appeal to the Summit to speed up the process,” Dr Zziwa said

Dr Zziwa said the central corridor is a key infrastructure that services the mainland of Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi hinterland.

“We welcome the improvements made on this Central Corridor – including reducing the roadblocks and standardizing the security checks.  This is in line with the commitments of the Summit especially after the infrastructure Summit in Nairobi in 2012,” she said

As of March, 2014, a total number of 16 out of the 33 outstanding Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) were eliminated in Tanzania.

Some of the eliminated NTBs include congestion at the port of Dar es salaam; double payment of handling charges at the ICDs and Dar Es Salaam port and Uganda restricting imports of mosquito nets produced by A to Z factory located in Arusha.

Other NTBs eliminated include restriction of imports of beer from Burundi by Tanzania; and harassment of Tanzanian businessmen by Kenyan Immigration Officials at Namanga Border Post.

Tanzania has been named as the leading country in the elimination of Non Tariff Barriers in the Community by the World Bank Group on its study on the Status of Implementation of East African Community Common Market Protocol which was done in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat.

Written Faraja Mgwabati