The $35 fee paid by each truck entering Rwanda, from Tanzania, is for drivers accommodation in Covid-19 pandemic isolation centres so as to prevent the spread of the pandemic and “is not a tax per se”, Manasseh Nshuti, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of EAC affairs, has said in an interview with The New Times.
His explanation came after the East African Business Council (EABC) on Monday, November 30, issued a statement stating that the current $35 levied on each truck entering Rwanda, as facilitation fees for accommodation and refreshments for truck drivers in Covid-19 isolation centres is likely to adversely affect the cost of doing business.
The regional body’s position followed a visit at the Rusumo One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) linking Rwanda and Tanzania. The tour was aimed at seeking sustainable solutions to issues hampering trade across EAC borders.
The EABC also called for the harmonization of inspection charges by trade facilitation agencies along the Rusumo OSBP to avoid increasing the cost of doing business.
Nshuti explained that the EAC has protocols on how things are handled at common borders and noted that there have been changes regarding how things are imported and exported so as to ensure the safety of goods and people because of the pandemic which created an unusual situation.
“The $35 is not paid to the Government but it goes to the private sector to cater for things such as meals, disinfection and sterilisation to ensure the place is safe for the next driver, as they wait for their cargo to be cleared. And, it used to be $50 but it is now $35,” Nshuti said.
He added: “It is a Covid-19 facilitation fee. We don’t charge for the security escorts (from the border to other parts of mainland Rwanda). They shouldn’t see it as a trade barrier. It is a Covid-19 barrier, and, once Covid-19 is gone, everything will go back to normal.”
Source: New Times