NTBs to be reported via phones in Burundi

Burundi cross-border traders and officials will now start using a mobile application to report trade barriers

Burundi cross-border traders and officials will now start using a mobile application to report trade barriers.

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat and TradeMark Africa’s (TMA) Burundi Programme conducted a two-day training on Non-Tarriff Barriers (NTBs) for Burundi’s cross border trade participants who included customs officials, border police, freight forwarders, clearing agents, and representatives from trade associations including truck drivers and women traders who operate at the Kobero One Stop Border Post.

The training which was held from April 15-16, 2024 enlightened attendees on identifying, monitoring, and reporting obstacles to trade using the newly launched EAC-NTBs mobile app, which is designed to streamline the reporting and resolution of trade barriers.

“These awareness trainings are part of the collaborative efforts to accelerate the operationalisation, user uptake and engagements on the EAC-NTB Barriers mobile app, which is designed to ease the reporting and elimination of NTBs in region, removing pointless encumbrances to trade. The goal is to enhance intra-EAC trade,” said Christian Nibasumba TMA Burundi Country Representative.

According to the Trade Mark Africa, many of the trainees explored the app’s features for the first time, and were keen to understand what constitutes NTBs and how they could be equipped to accurately document or report them in EAC-NTBs mobile system for quick resolution.

“The app’s real time reporting capability to a centralised team at the EAC Secretariat could dramatically enhance responsiveness,” said Ndizeye Bobby Jean Marie Director of Customs, Trade, Industry and Investments at the Burundi Ministry of EAC Affairs.

A 2023 report by the East African Community indicated that the economic impact of NTBs are estimated at about $16.7 million. The report also detailed the status of unresolved NTBs in member countries, noting several pending cases in both Tanzania and Uganda.

Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are obstacles to international trade that are not related to export or import duties and can take the form of import quotas, subsidies, customs delays, and technical barriers hindering trade, among others.

The app will allow traders to report such barriers and attach evidence for follow-up and expedited resolution. The development of the EAC-NTB mobile app, was funded by the Netherlands and is housed at the EAC Secretariat. USAID contributed to its launch and operationalisation.

 The app was officially launched in December 2023 and has since enabled stakeholders to report various administrative and procedural barriers, including imports bans, import licensing, rules of origin issues, costly or lengthy customs procedures, poor testing and inspection facilities, administrative fees and levies excluding tariffs, lacing of clarity on border procedures, to name but a few.


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