Shortage of Covid-19 testing reagents delays goods at Malaba and Busia

Shortage of Covid-19 testing reagents delays goods at Malaba and Busia
  • PublishedOctober 16, 2020

Movement of goods between Kenya and Uganda has been delayed at the Malaba and Busia border due to a shortage of Covid-19 testing reagents.

This has caused a major lorry traffic snarl-up from Mundika town to the Busia border and congestion at the Malaba border post, which is over 30 kilometres.

The East African Business Council (EABC) has urged the East African countries to start using electronic Covid-19 certificates which were introduced to minimize delays.

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“It is critical for transporters in the region to embrace the recently launched Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System. This is to improve the truck outturn and allow partner states to electronically share truck drivers’ test results, minimizing the need for multiple Covid-19 tests in a single trip,” the EABC Chief Executive Peter Mathuki said.

More than 2,400 trucks which were Ugandan-bound are stuck, interrupting cross-border trade. Consequently, affecting the economy of both countries.

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Most Ugandan truck drivers are travelling without Covid-19 certificates so that they can be tested at the borders. This has caused a shortage of reagents and caused delays.

The delay at the border threatens trade between the two countries which had begun to shape up. By August 2020, Kenya’s exports to Uganda were valued at Ksh9.6 billion which is a hike from Ksh5.9 billion, the same period last year.

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Kenya imports milk and cream, tobacco, cane, electrical energy and plywood from Uganda and exports palm oil, iron or non-alloy steel, petroleum oils and salt to Uganda.

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