The East African Business Council (EABC) is urging for the formation of a regional army to provide security and protection to track drivers at the volatile border points.
EABC wants the East African Community Secretariat to convene a Sectoral Council on Interstate Security to consider deployment of a regional joint army patrol at border points.
The calls come hardly a fortnight since Kenyan truck drivers suspended transporting cargo to South Sudan after two drivers were killed just 45 kilometres from Juba.
“A joint regional army patrol is a quick solution to guarantee peace and security for truck drivers, business people and their properties. This will ease and facilitate transportation of essential goods amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” said John Bosco Kalisa, EABC CEO.
In April, EABC commended the government of the Republic of South Sudan and the government of Uganda for escorting truck drivers and now urges the ministries in charge of Interstate Security to adopt a regional monitoring mechanism to analyse, monitor progress and emerging issues on trade and security in the region.
Mr Kalisa said peace and security are prerequisites to social and economic development in the region as insecurity increases the cost and time of transporting goods, risks people’s lives, obstructs cross-border trade and negatively impacts the competitiveness of the EAC bloc.
The cases of insecurity in the Republic of South Sudan, especially along the Nimule/Elegu border route has seen over 1056 trucks stranded at the Elegu border.
Each day a truck fails to deliver goods, the transporter and client incur losses approximated at $1,000. Furthermore, the ransom cost for truck drivers who have fallen victim to insurgents range between $10,000 to $20,000.
“Businesses can only reap the benefits availed by the EAC Common Market of 177 million consumers only if peace and security is guaranteed and flourishes,” said the official.
In 2019, South Sudan exported goods worth $6.8 million and imported $225.9 million from the EAC Partner States. Intra-regional exports grew by 0.6 percent in 2019 to $3.2 billion while total EAC intra-regional imports increased to $3.2 billion in 2019, from $2.8 billion in 2018, according to EAC Trade and Investment Report, 2019.
The recently launched port of Lamu continues to record good business with transshipment cargo forming the bulk of the freight handled at the facility. Last week, the port received the largest consignment of 365 containers of transshipment cargo, the biggest of the six ships to have been shipped to the Port since its operationalisation in May.
Kenya and Ethiopia have ratified a procedure manual that will guide the two countries in the implementation of the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) that was recently commissioned, paving the way for its full operationalisation.
The new measure by South Sudan implies that all goods to this landlocked nation from either the port of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam through the border points of Kenya and Uganda will have to be issued with ECTN at a cost of up to $110 depending on the size of the cargo.