INSECURITIES at EAC borders has compelled the East African Business Council (EABC) to push for the deployment of a regional joint army patrol for escorting and protecting truck drivers.
Yesterday, the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the six East African countries tasked the EAC Secretariat to convene the EAC Sectoral Council on Interstate Security to facilitate truck drivers’ escorts.
“While we condemn the harassment and killing of truck drivers traversing EAC borders, it is our view that a joint regional army patrol is still a quick solution to guarantee peace and security for truck drivers, business people and their properties,” said the EABC in a statement seen by the ‘Daily News’.
The move will ease and facilitate transportation of essential goods amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the regional business council.
In April 2021, EABC hailed South Sudan and Uganda for escorting truck drivers to Juba after a series of armed attacks on vehicles in the world's newest country left at least 15 people dead.
It argued that peace and security were prerequisites to social and economic development in the region, adding that the state of insecurity would increase the cost and time of transporting goods, risk people’s lives, obstruct cross-border trade and negatively impact the competitiveness of the EAC bloc.
Due to cases of insecurity in the World’s newest state, especially along the Nimule/Elegu border route to Juba, the EABC says there are over 1056 trucks stranded at the Elegu border risking the spread of Covid-19 to border communities.
“Each day a truck is stranded to deliver goods, the transporter and client incur losses of approximately $1,000, furthermore, the release costs for truck drivers who have fallen victim to the insecurity assaults range between 10,000 US dollars to 20,000 US dollars and sometimes their precious life,” it said.
The EABC insisted that regional businesses can only reap the benefits availed by the EAC Common Market of 177 million consumers only if peace and security is guaranteed and flourishes.
In 2019, South Sudan exported goods worth 6.8 million US dollars and imported 225.9 million US dollars from the EAC partner states.
Intra-regional exports grew by 0.6 per cent in 2019 to 3.2 billion US dollars, while total EAC intra-regional imports increased to 3.2 billion US dollars in 2019, from 2.8 billion US dollars in 2018, according to the EAC Trade and Investment Report, 2019.