With the ugly head of Corona Virus already causing havoc both globally and locally, a lot of adjustments are being implemented to ensure that as many people as possible can walk through this dilemma safe and healthy.
From a trade perspective, TradeMark East Africa is engaging East African Countries on formulating a safe cross-border trade policy that will ensure that even as countries prioritize the combating of the COVID19 pandemic, trade continues without endangering the citizenry.
This was revealed by Frank Matsaert – the TradeMark CEO who in an interview with SMART 24 TV noted that he has had very positive engagements with partners and a safe cross-border trade stimulus is on the cards.
“We are putting resources together to formulate the safe trade emergency facility. We are working with EAC governments and private sector; particularly agencies at the border points. This will help our economies keep moving,” Frank Matsaert said, adding;
“Probably next week, I will be announcing this facility officially. We are stepping up our efforts. This is a critical challenge of our time. We have to think not just about the short term but medium term.”
HiPipo has since confirmed that the TRADEMARK EA SAFE TRADE budget is USD 20 million to be shared by about 11 countries it currently operates in.
Further, according to Frank Matsaert, the best way to fight the economic impact of the corona virus pandemic is by supporting business continuity and front-line staff for now, facilitating safe cross-border trade and focusing on Trade policy reforms.
Support business continuity and front-line staff now.
Allow essential industries to continue to work to ensure the free flow of trade- particularly of food and medical-related items.
Protection of front-line and essential services workers to mitigate spread.
Facilitate safe cross-border trade.
Increase internal and external border agency collaboration.
Streamline and simplify regulatory and border procedures to facilitate trade.
Extend border agency working hours to accommodate COVID measures and additional Port health checks to allow for increased trade flows of critical commodities and for logistics providers to more adequately manage cargo movement.
Focus on Trade policy reforms, such as:
Tariff reductions that can contribute to reducing the cost of goods and services.
Reducing tax and administrative burdens on importers and exporters.
Reducing the cost of food and other products heavily consumed by the poor (price controls if necessary).
Developing macro-economic measures to limit the negative economic and social impact of the COVID19 crisis as it unfolds.
Craft economic recovery and resilience strategies to avert future crises.