The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) has written to Rwandan President Paul Kagame over prohibitive Covid-19 measures that have made business extremely difficult.
In the letter dated Wednesday, May 13, the truckers lamented over the Rwandese government’s adoption of relay driving to prevent drivers from other countries from getting into Rwanda and only allowing the designated ones in. The KTA told Kagame that the arrangement posed challenges and a risk to the drivers and their cargo thereby making many of them shun cargo bound for Rwanda.
The truckers called for Kagame to apply the same measures as other East African countries that test drivers at borders before allowing them into the country to deliver cargo instead of barring foreign drivers from getting into the country. “The KTA would especially appeal to the government of Rwanda through President Paul Kagame, to allow for quick harmonisation of border policies.
“The Covid-19 testing of truck drivers to be done at the borders in the same way as is being carried out in Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan. “A driver found to be Covid-19 free should be allowed to proceed with the journey inside Rwandan territory with designated stop places. Should the driver be found to be Covid-19 positive, he should be quarantined accordingly,” the letter reads.
The truckers explained that with the rigors of having to hand over their cargo midway to other drivers who would then drive it into Rwanda, many had opted to completely shun Rwanda-bound cargo.
“The relay driving option is not practical and the risks involved are too great for a road transporter to accept this option and are thus reluctant to load Rwanda-bound cargo. “As a result, Rwanda-destined cargo is accruing storage charges at the ports because transporters and clearing agents are facing these difficulties,” the truckers lamented.
KTA further stated that while it appreciated the mitigation measures launched by the East African governments to control the spread of the pandemic, there was a need to enforce measures that enabled the flow of goods and services across the countries.
The truckers also urged the members of the association to keep following the rules given by the various governments to control the spread of the virus.