The closure of borders and a slowdown in cross-border trade caused by ravaging COVID-19 has hampered trade between East African Community partner states.
Business between Kenya and Tanzania at their common Namanga border point has almost grounded due to restriction of movement of vehicles and people but the border is not closed.
A check at the border town showed that few Kenyan cargo trucks were being allowed entry into Tanzania, while all trucks from Tanzania importing goods into Kenya are supposed to be escorted by Kenyan police from the border point to their destination and then back.
Kenya has deployed more than 40 armed police officers and police vehicles for the task.
Few passenger vehicles are allowed entry into Tanzania, with truck drivers ferrying goods to the country have to be cleared by medical officers first. Bus companies have opted to transporting goods to mitigate losses.
This is the scenario hardly one week after Kenya’s Principal Secretary for East Africa Community Affairs Kevit Desai raised a red flag over the loss of an estimated Ksh38 billion ($380 million) loss in one week in bilateral trade in the wake of Covid-19. Mr Desai was at the Namanga One-Stop-Border-Post on a fact finding mission.
The stringent measures are supposed to reassure business people that both countries are open for business and all efforts are being made to remove health risks associated with the Covid-19 in the two countries.