Tanzania and Burundi have been urged to lift work permit fees and allow free movement of labour. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta called on the two nations to effect the policy on Monday.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have waived work permits but Tanzania and Burundi are yet to do so. Mr Kenyatta in a speech read on his behalf by the EAC Affairs Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said: “My government provides free work permits to all East Africans and we urge other partner states to do the same,”
Foreign workers intending to work in Tanzania are charged between Sh525 and Sh262,500 ($6 and $3,000), and about Sh5000 and Sh7,500($60 and $84) in Burundi.
Some of the member countries have been hesitant to waive the fees over what the saw as possible export of job opportunities at the expense of locals which may carry political implications.
Industrialisation cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed urged manufacturers in the region to start branding their goods “Made in East Africa” saying the region is more known across the world than individual countries.
They spoke during the opening ceremony of the East Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition.