JOHANNESBURG– Angry Kenyans have taken to social media to lament what they see as trade discrepancies with Tanzania, with some recommending a wall be built along the border with their neighbour.
There was a barrage of Twitter posts on Tuesday after the Daily Nation published a report detailing a raft of trade barriers placed on Kenyan goods being sent to Tanzanian markets.
Many criticised the silence from Kenyan authorities as they asserted that Tanzanian traders enjoyed favourable cross-border trade.
“We should build a wall along the border with Tanzania! I think this is the best time for Kenyans to wake up to the four agendas. Promote trade and manufacturing within. #fairTradeKe,” Ruth (@Agribusiness 360) tweeted.
Nairobi’s big four agenda projects are food security, manufacturing, affordable housing and affordable healthcare.
Others recommended that Kenyan authorities hit back by increasing tariffs on Tanzanian goods, arguing that local manufacturers had been prevented from exporting to Tanzanian markets because of high tariffs.
One Twitter user alleged that Tanzanian police repeatedly targeted vehicles bearing Kenyan number plates forcing traders to hire local vehicles to avoid disrupted journeys.
“Hostility within the East African community is metered out to Kenyans mainly by Tanzania. Even if Tanzania is claiming to protect its citizens from better economies, there is no need for violating the rights of Kenyan citizens living in Tanzania,” wrote Victor Mochere.
The two countries have periodically engaged in trade tiffs over sugar and tobacco, the East African reported.
The last one involved Tanzania refusing duty-free access to its markets last year even after a verification exercise was conducted to determine the source of the industrial sugar used by manufacturers.
Dar es Salaam maintains that the duty-free sugar imported by Kenya in August 2017 still has an impact on locally-manufactured goods. The issue hasn’t been resolved because Tanzania’s request for a second verification has been rejected.
The two neighbours are battling a trade war over tobacco with Nairobi protesting Dar es Salaam’s decision to impose 80 percent higher excise duty on cigarette transfers into Tanzania, despite the raw materials being sourced in Kenya.
The East Africa Community Common Market protocol provides for free movement of locally manufactured goods within Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
African News Agency (ANA)