The Ministry of Infrastructure has said that the government of Rwanda will do all it can to facilitate the smooth movement of goods as the region grapples with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
This follows a high-level meeting convened on Friday in Kirehe district, which brought together government officials, Private Sector Federation, transporters, importers and customs clearing and forwarding agencies.
The extension of customs clearance services from Kigali to entry border points somehow complicated movement of transporters and cargo owners because of the lockdown measures that, among others, prohibit the movement of people.
Claver Gatete, the Minister for Infrastructure told the press on Saturday, May 2 that the meeting intended to iron out issues that have characterized cargo transport during the Covid-19 period.
“We have realized that people who want to travel to border posts to see their cargo have been challenged by restrictions of movement imposed by the government. This is why we have revised the guidelines to facilitate them,” he said.
The Ministry of Infrastructure has asked all cargo owners and transporters who wish to travel to submit their vehicle details in order to be facilitated to easily move.
“Going forward, the Police will review the names of all cargo owners and transporters, and allow them to freely move across provinces where these border points are located,” Gatete noted.
Tanzania border issue
When the government issued new guidelines to manage truck drivers, it directed truck owners to have at least two drivers per vehicle (one from Tanzania and another from Rwanda).
This move was contested by many Tanzanian drivers, most of whom said it didn’t make sense putting their vehicles and cargo into the hands of the people whom they have no formal agreement with. This is because, in case of damage or loss of the goods, there was no one to be accountable.
Gatete indicated that he held discussions with his Tanzanian counterpart Eng. Isack Kamwelwe, the Minister of Transport and a few other Tanzanian truck owners.
“We have addressed most of the issues that have been raised by our Tanzanian counterparts. We are even working with them to see what can be improved,” he noted.
The Government has laid out options for Tanzanian truck drivers, including providing temporary residence permits to drivers who will be staying in the country during this COVID-19 period.
This means that Tanzania transporters who don’t trust Rwandan drivers and chose to have their drivers relocate to Rwanda will only do so without those drivers going back to Tanzania.