For Online E-newspaper
The East African : March 3rd 2014
The EastAfrican BUSINESS MARCH 1-7,2014 TOURISM UNDER SIEGE? still legally binding under the current tourism laws of the two partner states. The EAC Secretariat was asked to fast track the harmonisation process of the EAC tourism laws and review the bilateral agreement in six months. Kenyan tour operators haves- ince 2010 expressed their concerns over the continued refusal by Tanzania to allow Kenyanregistered tourist vans to enter sites inside the country when Tanzania tour operators are freely entering the Kenyan sites with their vehicles. Tanzania’s Tourism Act 2008 A tourist van in a national park in East Africa. Tour firms are not allowed to cross into other states. Picture: File Coalition of willing can’t agree on tour vans’ access Tou≥ fi≥ms now have to d≥op tou≥ists at the bo≥de≥ points with the othe≥ state By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent agreement as an interim measure to resolve their differences over free movement of tourists across the border. The two countries and Ugan- K da have been accusing each other of policies that aim to protect their tour operators from regional competition. In a trilateral crisis meeting in Arusha last week Nairobi, Kampala and Dar failed to reach a long-term solution. Under the agreement, tour ve- hicles from Uganda and Kenya will not be allowed into each other’s tourism sites; instead, tour operators will swap tourists at the countries’ respective nearest border point, Namanga, Sirari and Isebania, Holili enya and Tanzania have reverted to their 1985 bilateral /Taveta, Horohoro and Lungalunga. This is the latest in a string of initiatives to boost the EAC tourism industry and market it as a single destination. On February 20, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda launched a joint tourist visa thatwill work like the Schengen visa for the European Union countries. The $100 document will allow tourists to enter any of the three countries and move freely within the other two without having to pay for another visa. Under the interim deal, once at the border, tour firms will have to contract their counterparts from the other partner state to take the tourists. Although the process will not come at an extra cost for tour firms, the operators find it cumbersome and fear that the same quality of hospitality may not be accorded their tourists. Uganda had complained that while it allows Kenyan registered tour vehicles to enter its tourist sites, Kenya does not reciprocate. Uganda was also concerned that it does not levy work permit fees for Tanzania’s tour operators who enter Uganda to drop off or pick up tourists but Tanzania levies $100. Tanzania denied the allegations but stated that prior to July 2013 every non-citizen entering Tanzania for gainful activities was subject to a fee of $200 for a Carrying on Temporary Assignment Pass (CTA). The ministers directed Ken- ya and Tanzania to respond to Uganda’s concerns before March 20. Kenya Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said the move will resolve differences, promote the region as a tourism destination and foster EAC integration. “Member states should there- fore honour timelines agreed upon and work jointly to implement the decisions,” said Ms Kandie. Waturi Matu, Kenyan co- ordinator of the East African Tourism Platform, said that the 1985 bilateral agreement is stipulates that foreign registered tour operator vehicles are not allowed entry into tourist sites. The law, permits only foreign tour operator companies registered in Tanzania to access these tourist sites. EAC partner state-registered tourist vehicles are considered foreign. Tanzania Tourism Federation executive secretary Richard Rugimbana said the country will implement the agreement as it waits for the harmonisation of EAC tourism laws. However, some tour firms are dissatisfied with the agreement. Nairobi-based Nahdy Travel & Tours Ltd managing director Faraj Abdalla said that the border closure adds extra costs to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara package, as tourists have to go back to Nairobi or Arusha to reach the other side. “The move to have tourists change vehicles at the borders of Namanga, Sirari and Taveta is not only a humiliation for tourists, but also a window dressing for Tanzania’s policy of non-tariff barriers to keep competition away,” Mr Abdalla said. Kenya is now charging a park entry fee of $90 per person for the international tourist, up from $75, while the other countries are charging between $50 and $60. Tanzania is charging $60 per person for international tourists while Uganda charges $40. Other issues addressed by the ministers included the harassment of drivers and guides at the borders and on Tanzanian highways; and fees charged to Kenyan citizens. Additional reporting by Adam Ihucha Kenya’s ene≥gy body issues guidelines on oil ma≥keting By KENNEDY SENELWA Special Correspondent KENYA WILL from this month issue trading licences only to marketing firms that annually sell at least 15 million litres of refined petroleum products. The minimum volume of products sold in Kenya is part of the revised criteria that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will use to evaluate applications before granting marketers import licences for refined fuel. The licensing regulations were signed by En- ergy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir on December 19 and are expected to be gazetted in the next few days. In the criteria, applicants must own at least five retail outlets or a storage depot in Kenya. If not, firms should show the ability to sell at least 15 million litres of various fuel grades annually for renewal of a licence. The regulations are expected to rid the pe- troleum business of speculators. Kenya had 67 registered marketers and fuel distributors by December but the number went down to 57 in February. ERC has issued guidelines to marketers about the new criteria requiring confirmation by Ministry of Energy that applicants have signed the open tender system agreement used for bulk importation of refined fuel. Firms will be required to comply with agree- ments signed with Mombasa-based Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd, including prompt lifting of products and transporting fuel in the Kenya Pipeline Company system. Companies will also have the obligation to maintain a minimum quantity of one million litres of diesel in the pipeline, referred to as line fill in the industry. The previous line fill was 500 cubic metres of diesel before the revision. ERC petroleum director Linus Gitonga said companies utilising the pipeline will be required to show proof of compliance with the transport and storage agreement signed with Kenya Pipeline Company. “Companies defaulting on both of these items for two consecutive months will have their licence downgraded for not less than one year. Kenya Pipeline Corporation will report on these two items monthly,” he said. 43 White colla≥ f≥audste≥s up thei≥ game Kenyan firms are increasingly losing large amounts of money to fraudsters, a trend consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), attributes to the growing sophistication of economic criminals in the country. A new survey by the firm shows that though the incidence of economic crimes in the country dropped from 66 per cent in 2011 to 52 per cent in 2014, companies reported a rise in the average amount lost as well as the frequency in which criminals stole from them. “Fraudsters are becoming bolder... They are stealing bigger amounts and attacking the same company more frequently,” said Muniu Thoithi, the forensics leader at PwC Kenya. Data from the report shows 34 per cent of the 124 companies that took part in the survey reported losing between $0.1 million and $5 million. Scania sets up shop in Kenya Global automaker Scania has opened offices in Kenya for its marketing and distribution business in East Africa. The Swedish manufacturer of heavy trucks and buses has been supplying to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi through Kenya Grange Vehicle Industries. Scania, which has a presence in more than 100 countries, is now looking to set up its regional base in Kenya in a move that will put pressure on other European maanufacturers like Mercedes, Volvo, Euro Tracker and Renault to follow suit. The move will pit Scania against General Motors East Africa, which currently commands the biggest share of the market from its flagship Isuzu trucks and buses. ALN extends to West Af≥ica ALN, the alliance of independent top tier African law firms, has expanded its network by admitting G. Elias & Co., a leading player in Nigerian to its fold. ALN executives said this will expand the network from its traditional East and Southern Africa sphere to West Africa. ALN now has members in Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Among the members of ALN are Kenya’s Anjarwalla & Khanna, Tanzania’s Adept Chambers and Rwanda’s K-Solutions & Partners. Also in the network are Ugandabased law firm MMAKS Advocates and Burundi’s Mabushi Chambers.
February 24th 2014
March 10th 2014