Published On: Tue, Nov 20th, 2012

Border Bribery Killing Trade

Border Clearance is a tedious process

A survey by Transparency International Kenya and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) reveals that regulatory
authorities in East Africa demand the highest amount of bribes from transporters and drivers along the
transport corridors.

According to the report titled Bribery as a non-tariff barrier to trade; a case study of East African trade
corridors, Tanzania’s regulatory authorities ranked worst at USD 12, 640 (Kshs. 1,074,400) followed
by Kenya at USD6, 715 (Kshs. 570,775), Uganda was third at USD3, 672 (Kshs.312, 120) while Rwanda
ranked fourth at USD 679 (Kshs. 57,715) and Burundi had the lowest at USD293 (Kshs. 24,905).

The survey conducted in collaboration with Transparency International chapters in Burundi, Rwanda,
Uganda and the Transparency forum in Tanzania further indicates that bribery costs in Tanzania per
year consisted of about 18.6 per cent of the value of goods transported.

Speaking during the launch East Africa Community (EAC) Ministry Economic Affairs Director, Richard
Sindiga said: “By eliminating tariffs and working to minimize non-tariff barriers across the EAC, the
governments in partner states can ease the flow of people and goods across borders. This will in turn
create larger markets; enable economies of scale, and promote local, regional, and global trade.”

He added this will foster a dynamic environment for economic growth across the entire region from
which Kenyan and East African businesses will benefit.

Samuel Kimeu speaking to reporters

“However, the problem of non-tariff barriers in the EAC is widespread and requires joint effort to
eliminate them,” he said.

Sindiga said the Kenyan Government is doing everything possible to eliminate the barriers but also
concedes that the war is far from being won. He said the ministry is finalizing a survey to find out, why
NTBs persist even after the council of ministers had directed partner states to eliminate them and also
get the opinion of the stakeholders on what could be done to eliminate the persisting NTBs.

Transparency International Kenya Executive Director, Samuel Kimeu noted bribes were a non-tariff
barrier to doing business in the region.

“Corruption serves as an unnecessary cost of doing business and as an additional burden to the
consumer. Left unchecked, the vice will make this region uncompetitive,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the study, he also noted that the full benefits of integration will not be
achieved unless decisive efforts are put in place to confront corruption in the trade and transport
sectors.

TradeMark East Africa which funded this study was represented by Lisa Karanja, Director of Private
Sector and Civil Society. “Regional integration is gaining pace but existence of non-tariff barriers
continues to be a deterrent in the full implementation of the various protocols. TMEA commissioned
this study with a view to enhance the advocacy for the elimination of non-tariff barriers. We expect a

comprehensive dialogue between state and non-state actors to address the key issue highlighted by this
report. A resolution of the identified issue will lead to a more competitive business environment which
will result in increased trade and ultimately prosperity for East Africans”.

(By George Kebaso)

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