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National Monitoring Committees on NTBs
Central corridor member states eager to reduce trade and transport barriers along the corridor.
 
Posted on : 20 - Aug - 2015 - Viewed : 847 times
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The central corridor is a multi-modal trade and transport corridor within the East African Community and is a combination of road and railway network linking the Port of Dar es Salaam to the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The majority of Rwanda’s trade is via the Northern and Central Corridors, with the Central Corridor handling the largest (and increasing) portion of Rwanda trade since 2010. Traditionally, the majority of Rwandan trade has been carried via the Northern and Central corridors. Between 2007 and 2014, these two corridors accounted for an average of 82% of Rwandan trade by value.

Dar es Salaam has overtaken Mombasa as the most important EAC Port for Rwanda, and is currently handling 70% of all Rwandan international sea-route shipping. Therefore, initiatives aimed at improving the Central Corridor will have a direct impact on Transport costs, and thus contribute to the reduction of the cost of doing business in Rwanda.

From 25th to 26th March 2015, Tanzania hosted the first ever Presidential Roundtable and Investor Forum for the Central Corridor. Heads of State from Central Corridor member countries met to assess and seek for ways to accelerate the implementation of selected Infrastructure projects along the Central Corridor.

In his keynote address during the high level industry and investors forum, President Kagame called for the kind of leadership that focuses on coordination and results. He underscored the importance of an engaged leadership, and frequent consultations at the highest level to help drive focus and results. Tanzania also committed its support towards the swift implementation of the infrastructure projects and reiterated the call to enhanced regional cooperation to realize the objectives. The country also committed to the complete elimination of NTBs along the Corridor to the Port of Dar es Salaam.

The Heads of State consequently resolved to formalize the Central Corridor Presidential Round Table for Heads of States to meet quarterly in order to maintain the momentum. The Heads of State further directed relevant Ministers from Member States to immediately set up an implementation and monitoring mechanism, which will report on a regular basis to the Presidential Roundtable, with clear results and milestone progress for all the projects.

The Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency was directed to take the lead in coordinating the follow up actions and to convene a meeting of Senior Officials from Member States to develop a robust implementation matrix with clear milestones and delivery mechanisms for all the projects.

Some of infrastructure projects committed to at the recent Central Corridor Presidential Roundtable are :

  • Construction of a new Standard Gauge Railway from Dar to Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda – launch scheduled in June 2015
  • Expansion of the Port of Dar es Salaam (Berth 13 and 14) ;
  • Development of new Inland Container Depots (ICDs) away from the City centre – to decongest the port & boost efficiency

In addition to the above, a number of trade facilitation measures along the central Corridor aimed at making it easier to trade across borders have been implemented :

  • Single Customs Territory was launched in June 2014 and since August 2014 Rwanda deployed its customs officials at Dar es Salaam Port.
  • Transit time has been reduced from 10 to between 3-6 days from Dar-es-Salaam to Kigali.
  • Weighbridges have been reduced in Tanzania from 8 to 7
  • Police Road Blocks have been reduced to 8 gazetted in 2014, from 53 roadblocks in 2010.
  • Harmonization of Rwanda and Tanzania road tolls to $152 from $500 – reducing transit costs for Rwandan traders.
  • Rwanda and Tanzania launched a new Rusumo International bridge and an OSBP yet to be operationalized.
  • Introduction of Electronic Cargo tracking system for all types of cargo and a result, trucks no longer stop at all 4 revenue check points in Tanzania along the corridor.

The end goal with the above initiatives and efforts is the complete elimination of remaining NTBs on the Central Corridor ; to drastically reduce transport costs ; improve the turnaround time for trucks ; and finally, translate these gains and improvements into price reduction in the domestic markets as well as boost manufacturing and export competitiveness.

While significant progress has been made with regards to elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) ; Central Corridor Member States should accelerate the implementation of trade facilitation measures and removal of the remaining national and regional NTBs to ensure that the Corridor and the entire region fully benefits to the maximum possible extent from multilateral trade liberalization.

Tanzania Ports Authority together with other Port operators plan to open liaison offices in Rwanda, Burundi and DRC before the end of 2015.

 
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