Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) has cried foul over the treatment of local drivers at the hands of Kenya and Rwanda’s immigration border points.
Speaking to Press in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TATOA Chairperson Angelina Ngalula explained that contrary to initial agreement between the East African Countries on dealing with cross border cargo during the Corona Virus pandemic, there are double standards as to how Tanzanian drivers are treated.
“Our drivers have been stuck at the border points of Namanga and Rusomo for bureaucracy reasons, this, in turn, increases operation costs as we are charged close to TZS120,000 per container per day, the costs that could be easily avoided. We are requesting immediate intervention so things can start moving,” she said.
“On top of that, most Tanzanian trucks, in exception to those categorized to transport “essential goods” are requested to offload at the border point of Rusumo, which is about 150 Kilometers from the City of Kigali, while our counterparts from Rwanda are allowed to cross more than 1,000 Kilometers to Dar es Salaam and hence conveniently deliver to their customers’ in Rwanda, at doorsteps.
This situation gives the Rwandese truck owners a comparative business advantage, as they are deemed convenient by most customers. We are calling for fair business grounds,” said Ms. Ngalula.
Ms. Ngalula also expounded that, initially it was agreed that drivers from and to Kenya and Tanzania will be scanned at home and show a Covid-19 free certificate at the border points, but now the Kenyan authorities are surprisingly rejecting the Tanzanian based certificates, causing an unnecessary delay at the border, which translate into loss to the owners, especially when it concerns perishable goods.
“in a very unprecedented manner, Kenyan authorities are now refuting our drivers’ Covid-19 free certificates, questioning their legitimacy. It should be known that those are governments’ endorsed documents, issued by the Ministry of Health. As truck owners, we are calling for a round table discussion between all relevant authorities to normalize the situation and set fair business grounds. We understand and acknowledge all the government’s efforts in putting cross-border businesses in perspective amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. We feel that these particular areas need immediate improvement,” concluded the Chairperson.
TATOA was established in 2005 as a voluntary business association for truck owners involved in cargo freighting business in and outside Tanzania. The association now has 962 members with over 15000 trucks.