Lack of COVID-19 testing reagent at the Malaba and Busia borders is slowing down the movement of goods between Kenya and Uganda, with lorry traffic stretching over 30 kilometres from the border point.
According to East African Business Council, the backlog of trucks headed to Busia border now starts from Mundika town, some 15 kilometres away and the congestion at the Malaba border post also stretching 30 kilometres.
EABC has called on the East African Community member states to restock the reagents quickly to avoid further delays in clearance.
The lobby group and the Ministry of EAC also asked member states to embrace electronic Covid-19 certificates to minimise delays brought about by demand for a second testing.
“It is critical for transporters in the region to embrace the recently launched Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System to improve the truck outturn and allow partner States to electronically share truck drivers’ test results, minimising need for multiple Covid-19 tests in a single trip,” said Peter Mathuki, the chief executive of EABC.
More than 2,400 trucks destined for Uganda are stuck and disrupting cross-border businesses which is further affecting the economy of both countries.
EABC said that most Ugandan truck drivers are travelling without covid-19 certificates with expectations of being tested at the borders, leading to delays occasioned by the increase in demand of reagents.
The traffic jam threatens business between the two countries, which is rebounding with Kenya’s exports to Uganda standing at $88 million as at August 2020, an increase from $53.9 million in the same period in 2019.
Kenya exports to Uganda include palm oil and its fractions, iron or non-alloy steel, petroleum oils and salt among other goods.
While Kenya’s imports milk and cream, tobacco, cane, electrical energy and plywood among other goods from Uganda.