East African state agencies and tax bodies charged with regulating trade are the biggest barrier to trade, new survey by Transparency International (TI) and a trade support body shows.
The new study of bribery trends along the main entry points and trade corridors ranks Tanzania as the biggest bribery kingpin, with bribes as high as US$12,640, followed by Kenya, with bribes averaging US$6,715.
Ugandans sought for bribes much lower at US$3,672, while Rwanda, rated as the best place to do business in Africa, had authorities seeking for US$679. Burundi had the least amount of bribery demands at US$293.
Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), a coalition of donors, which funded the study, hinted the authorities in East Africa demand the highest amount of bribes from transporters and drivers along the transport corridors.
The bribery as a non-tariff barrier to trade included a case study of East African trade corridors and was launched at a public ceremony here.
A Kenyan official at the East African Community (EAC) Ministry, Richard Sindiga, said dealing with the non-tax barriers to trade still remained one of the biggest challenges to regional trade and economic integration.
“By reducing or eliminating tariffs and working to minimise non-tariff barriers across the EAC, the governments in partner states can ease the flow of people and goods across borders,” said Sindiga, the Director of Economic Affairs at the Ministry.
EAC goals of expanding regional trade, creating larger markets, enabling economies of scale, and promoting local, regional, and global trade to foster a dynamic environment for economic growth have been slowed down.
Sindiga said achieving these goals across the region from which businesses will benefit were being hampered by the non-tariff barriers, which remained widespread and required joint effort to eliminate.
The study was an effort to enhance the advocacy for the elimination of non-tariff barriers.