Business people operating in the East African region have asked member state governments to open up their borders to enable them freely transact businesses in observance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Following the outbreak of Covid19 pandemic in the region, EAC countries restricted movement of people across their boundaries, allowing only cargo trucks.
This left out small scale traders who used to move with their goods on buses and other means of transport stranded with their merchandise.
Speaking at a two-day regional conference held in Kampala yesterday, small scale traders who comprised of mostly women suggested that proper emphasis should be put on preventing the pandemic instead of closing regional trade entirely.
“Covid19 is here to stay; we must all work to keep each other safe and productive instead of increasing vulnerability to those who have been already marginalized,” said Shiela Kawamara executive Director EASSI one of the participants.
Jane Nalunga the country director SEATINI Uganda said from this Covid period Government should help all business people recover from the losses they incurred through negotiations with other countries to open borders.
“We need to fight Covid at a regional level not as a country because we don’t know when the vaccine will be discovered.”
During this conference, some of the participants confessed that due to border closure they resorted to smuggling their goods through porous borders which is very risky.