While other partner states already use the ID and the single tourist visa for travelling within the EAC, the Ministry in charge of EAC affairs confirms that the reliability of the Burundi ID will determine whether Burundi will join or not.-By Diane Uwimana
“The Burundi ID is still unreliable, which is why we couldn’t join other countries by using the single tourist visa or ID to travel to those countries. We can find one person in possession of two IDs within different birth areas,” declares Léontine Nzeyimana, the Minister in charge of East African Community (EAC) Affairs.
She indicates that the process of identifying and computerizing citizens is ongoing. “The Ministry of Home Affairs started to register urban citizens for getting electronic ID last year,” adds the Minister. This was said Friday on 30th January when the Minister in charge of EAC affairs reported all activities run in 2014.
“Among the major activities, there is the launch of the single customs territory, the OBR agents are now present at the port in Dar es Salaam together with other EAC customs agents to facilitate trade and transport in the community. This has contributed much in reducing time and money spent on transport. Now, trucks spend 8 days on the road instead of 21” explains Nzeyimana. Since the single customs territory is operational, clearing processes are established in the country of destination while the goods are still at the first entrance point in the EAC. When all the formalities are finished, there won’t be any non tariff’s barriers. Trucks come directly to the final destination.
On 14 October 2014, The European Union (EU) and East African Countries (EAC) partner states signed an agreement establishing an economic partnership between the two parties.
Indeed, the EAC secretariat has donated equipment for video conferences which will allow Burundi to follow the meetings organized by that department.
However, even if many activities have been carried out in the Ministry of Home Affairs, some challenges still constrain the achievements of the ministry. “The lack of funds and institutional harmonization has been major obstacles in realizing our goals,” mentions the Minister.
But, she hopes, Trademark East Africa (TMEA) pledges to support the Ministry to harmonize Burundian laws with EAC ones.