The fate of some Rwandan traders is unknown as they wait anxiously for responses from authorities of the Tanzania and Kenyan Ports on more than two (2,000) containers stranded on ports in Tanzania and Kenya.
China has been an origin of many products to Rwandan traders, but the current Covid-19 situation in Africa and across the globe with its associated restrictions have stifled all exports, imports, and monitoring by both business owners and governments alike.
The Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) reports that “there were containers which reached both the Tanzanian and Kenyan Ports and could not leave because Chinese and other exporters delayed the delivery of customs paperwork, so that the goods could continue to travel”.
There are currently about two thousand five hundred (2,500) Rwandan containers at the ports of Dar es Salaam and sixty seven (67) in Mombasa. However, there is concern that these containers could be auctioned off because warehousing, customs fees, and penalties have already hit skyrocketing levels than the value of the goods.
“Another problem was that the goods reached the ports where Rwandans entered “stay at home period” due to Coronavirus and the business stopped, they could not work to earn money to transport the goods to the port”, the PSF stressed. It is reported that port authorities in Tanzania and Kenya want to release the cargo only if all the required fees are paid in full.
The Private Sector Federation in Rwanda has demanded that the traders be relieved. The Director of the Federation Stephen RUZIBIZA revealed his office on June 22 2020, wrote to the management of the Kenya Port Authority (KPA), as well as the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA), requesting the lifting of the sanctions.
Pointing out financial challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the livelihoods of exporters spanning from delays in access to documents from suppliers, new border regulations, and drivers protests in Benaco and Maraba.
he further wants penalties on warehouses, customs delays and daily shipments of containers abolished as agreed in Trade Agreements.
The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) according to sources has written to the Tanzania and Kenya Revenue and Customs Enforcement Agencies calling for the lifting of sanctions on Rwandan traders as agreed in the East African Community Trade Agreement.
The RRA said sanctions were unnecessary because people were facing the scourge of global catastrophe, reminding them that Rwandans are already working together well, so today it is not the time to risk them.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Private Sector Union Robert BAPFAKURERA, told www.zamireports.com that, applications made to Tanzania and Kenya on the state of the containers have yielded no positive results.
“Following the requests, Tanzania agreed to discuss the withdrawal of the money from the containers so that a decision could be made next week, but the Kenyan side remained silent”.
By: Emmanuel NKANGURA|www.zamireports.com|Kigali