Tanzania’s Ministry of Health on Sunday, May 17, announced new directives targeting cargo trucks and goods from within the East African Community (EAC), with the measures meant to control the spread of Covid-19.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu announced at a media briefing that trucks from other countries transporting goods would not be allowed past the Tanzanian border check-points, with all business to be completed at the border.
She specifically mentioned trucks from Kenya, with the announcement coming a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta shut the country’s borders with Tanzania and Somalia noting that a number of new infections had crossed the border. Uhuru’s order, however, did not affect cargo vehicles.
“All trucks with goods owned by a Tanzanian, and needs to enter Tanzania, or they belong to someone else but the order was made by a Tanzanian, find another truck to take the goods to the final destination. Vehicles from any other countries will not be allowed,” she stated.
Uhuru had made his announcement on Saturday, May 16, coming against the backdrop of confusion in the EAC over how to implement common measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 while allowing free movement of goods.
“There will be a cessation of movement of persons and any passenger-ferrying automobiles and vehicles into and out of the Republic of Kenya through the Kenya-Tanzania international border except for cargo vehicles with effect from midnight tonight, Saturday, May 16, 2020.
“There shall also be a cessation of movement of persons and any passenger-ferrying automobiles and vehicles into and out of the territory of the Republic of Kenya through the Kenya-Somalia international border except for cargo vehicles and this also will take effect from midnight tonight, Saturday, May 16, 2020.
“As of yesterday [Friday], the cases across the border were distributed as follows, Wajir 14, Isebania 10, Namanga 16, Lungalunga 2 and Loitoktok 1,” he stated, revealing that forty three of the cases detected in the previous week had crossed borders from neighbouring nations.
Ummy acknowledged the confusion and its impact on trade, asserting that the new regulations put in place by Tanzania were supposed to facilitate a smooth process.
“We need to do this so that we don’t continue spoiling business for each other and putting the economic environment in a situation that brings about a lot of confusion and disagreement.
“There’s a lot we can say but at the end of the day this is what we’re saying, for us not to infect each other, and for businesses not be ruined, goods going from Tanzania to other countries, let the owners come for them at the border points.
“Goods from other countries, particularly our neighbours Kenya, will be taken to the final destinations from here,” she stated.
She stated that those involved in trade would have to make early arrangements to ensure their goods are transferred at border points to ensure they get to their destinations. The move mirrors Rwanda’s April decision t not allows truckers from neighbouring countries beyond the border.
Watch part of the Tanzanian press briefing below:
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