- Feb 11, 2006
By WILFRED EDWIN
The East African member states are planning to harmonise their traffic laws, vehicle licensing and axle load regulations this year under a transport project funded by the African Development Bank.
Already, the EAC secretariat in Arusha has advertised a consultant to advise the regional body on ways to achieve this.
The project, estimated to cost $120 million, is expected be implemented by June.
Peter Kiguta, EAC director of Customs and Trade, told The EastAfrican last week that the project, which has already started in Kenya and Uganda, will also see a significant improvement in the regions transport systems.
Mr Kiguta said that, in Kenya and Uganda, the project covers the concessioning of the railway systems, while in Tanzania it will cover the construction of infrastructure in the central corridor.
The road transport facilitation project, sponsored by the African Development Bank, is aimed at facilitating the implementation of the agreement signed by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 2001 and ratified in 2004, he said.
The three member states, together with Rwanda, prepared the East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project with support from the World Bank.
The project also involves key governmental and regional entities such as the Northern Corridor Transit Transport Co-ordination Authority, Customs, immigration and trade authorities.
Sindiso Ngwenya, assistant secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and the Southern Africa, said last week that Comesa, Southern African Development Community and the EAC are in the final stages of harmonising trade and moving towards integration.
Mr Ngwenya said the three trading blocs are discussing air transport harmonisation.
The project aims at, among other things, harmonising cross-border procedures for priority borders and improving physical facilities to enable the setting up of one stop border posts managed jointly by parallel organisations from both countries. The areas to be harmonised include road traffic laws, traffic signs and markings, driver testing manuals and highway safety measures.
Others are environmental standards relating to road programmes, standards and specifications for roads and bridges, regulation and licensing of vehicles, axle load regulations and road transit charges.
The project is part of efforts to enhance free trade in the region through effective implementation of the Customs Union.
Another objective is to improve the efficiency of supply chains in the region.