Monday, 11 November 2013

SMS Feedback project to ease intra-regional trade

SMS Feedback project to ease intra-regional trade

Minister Muhongayire (R) briefs the media in Kigali yesterday as her permanent secretary Innocent Safari looks on.

Intra-regional traders are set to get a short messaging service (SMS) platform to channel their complaints in case of any problem encountered while conducting their business.

The SMS Feedback project will be launched this week as part of the activities in line with the East African Community awareness week.

Through the service–only to be available in Rwanda–traders will text their complaints to the Ministry of East African Affairs, which would then  analyse and then forward the message to focal persons at concerned agencies.

The agencies include the immigration department, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Police, Private Sector Federation and Rwanda Bureau of Standard.

Jacqueline Muhongayire, the minister for EAC affairs, said more will be brought on board as the implementation of the project continues.

Meanwhile, the agency that receives the complaint will liaise with its counterpart in the partner state to deal with the problem at hand.

Muhongayire said the project is among the activities lined up during the EAC Week that commenced yesterday and ends at the weekend.

The Week, established in 2010, aims at raising awareness in the five partner states on the integration process. The campaigns include indicating the benefits as well as providing platform for questions and concerns on EAC integration from the nationals.

“What we need is to facilitate traders in the region by responding in time to their challenges and we hope that with the new project, the transporters will benefit much,” the minister said.

Trade barriers

She said various non-trade barriers have been hampering the free movement of goods, adding that there was need for strong political will to ensure that trade barriers are eliminated.

The project, to be launched on Friday at Gatuna Border Post, will save the time spent to transport goods from the ports as well as ease doing business.

Theodore Murenzi, the secretary-general of Rwanda Long Distance Truck Drivers Union, said it was hectic to report their grievances.

“We will be able to report the challenges we encounter to respective agencies without spending money and going through bureaucracies. There are many challenges like corruption and weighbridges that hinder our movement. This initiative will surely go a long way in eliminating them,” Murenzi said.

During the recent Integration Projects Summit of Heads of State in Kigali, leaders from Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan and Rwanda agreed that partner states should abolish the remaining non-tariff barriers.

They also recommended that partner states ensure that transit cargo is fitted with an electronic tracking system by January 2014, for ease of monitoring along the Northern Corridor.

SMS Feedback project to ease intra-regional trade


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