KIGALI 

The East African Business Council (EABC) has called on countries in the region to harmonize COVID-19 test charges and quarantine period to ease doing business amid the pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, the EABC said lowering and harmonization of coronavirus-related charges in the East African Community (EAC) would support business recovery and resilience while boosting intra-regional trade.

“The lack of harmonization of COVID-19 test rates in accredited laboratories and uncoordinated waiting time for the test results is disrupting cross-border trade,” it said.

“COVID-19 related non-tariff barriers continue to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on COVID-19 in the region.”

The EAC member states of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan charge differently for COVID-19 test.

Tanzania and Burundi charge a standard $100 for both citizens and foreigners while other member countries have different charges.

Peter Mathuki, the EABC’s chief executive officer said the EAC secretariat needs to accelerate regional coordination and harmonization of measures on COVID-19 to facilitate economic resilience and regional growth.

Stressing the need for a common quarantine period in the region, Mathuki called for shorter waiting time for COVID-19 test results.

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