Non-harmonized road user fees among EAC member states irks freight forwarders

Freight trucks at the Malaba border. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The none harmonized road user fees among East African Community-EAC member states has raised concern among Ugandan freight forwarders.

Ugandan trucks transiting through the central corridor (Dar es Salaam port) pay US$500 (Uganda Shillings 1.7 million), Kenya US$200, Rwanda US$150 and Uganda US$100 per truck for goods in transit.

Hussein Kiddedde, the outgoing chairperson of the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association, says as transporters, they are hard-pressed by the increasing diesel prices on one side and the exorbitant road user fees.

According to Kiddedde, the high fees have rendered them uncompetitive and made them lose numerous opportunities to foreign companies.

In 2020, the Ugandan government filed a complaint with the EAC Council of Ministers accusing Tanzania of breaching the Common Market Protocol by imposing different road user fees on partner states in the same trading bloc but nothing has changed.

Charles Mwebembezi, the incumbent chairperson of the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association, says that the flow of goods and services is hindered by the high road user fees because they increase transport fares.

He says that they forwarded the matter to the East African community council of ministers and the East African Freight Forwarders Association for increased advocacy to push for a single rate.

According to the Ministry of East African Affairs, the matter is still far from conclusion because of the lengthy process. Frederick Wabwire, a principal infrastructure officer at the East African Community Affairs Ministry says that the community sectoral council of transport, communication and metrology, directed the EAC secretariat to convene a technocrats’ meeting to solve the matter, which was convened in March 2022.

Wabwire says that the meeting proposed remedies like applying the distance plus weight of the vehicle to determine the charges. He says that they also proposed that countries abolish the flat rate and determine charges depending on the size of the vehicle.

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