Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tanzania is not ready to abolish EAC work permit fees-ministry

30th October 2013
Vedastina Justinian, Head of communication department in the Ministry of East Africa Corporation
The government has said it will not rush to waive work permit fees for East Africans seeking jobs in Tanzania because such a move not only needs legal review but also a thorough assessment of its advantages and disadvantages.

The government’s reaction follows reports that the Ugandan government is set to abolish fees on work permits for Kenyan and Rwandan citizens by January of next year.

It is one of several reforms that leaders of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda launched on Monday to reduce the cost of doing business and speed up the movement of goods and people among their countries.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya met in Kigali on Monday where they signed for a Single Customs Territory (SCT) for the three countries.

Unmoved, Head of communication department in the Ministry of East Africa Corporation, Vedastina Justinian said Tanzania will not haste to waive work permit fees until some of the laws that have to do with immigration, capital flows and security have been revised.

“We will be in a better position to waive work permit fees upon the revision of these laws,” she said.

Justinian also said Tanzania will not bow to pressure from its EAC partner states to sign treaties that would not in one way or the other benefit the country and its people.

She confirmed that Tanzania and Burundi were not invited in a previous meeting conducted recently by the governments of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda as was the case with the Monday meeting to which President Jakaya Kikwete and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza were not invited.

The Head of communication said all meetings that involve EAC are coordinated by the regional body’s Secretariat and as such, Tanzania does not recognise meetings which are not coordinated by EAC and which do not involve other partner states.

Under the agreed Single Customs Territory, tax on goods imported into the three countries will be paid at Mombasa port and trucks weighed only at boarder crossings. Also, roadblocks from Mombasa to Kigali will be eliminated and weighbridges reduced from nine to three, thus eliminating time and cost of transporting goods from Mombasa to the hinterland.

Transit time for containers from Mombasa to Kampala and Mombasa to Kigali has already dropped from 18 days down to five and from 22 days to eight respectively.