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Last Updated:[12-07-2010 08:18:15 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

EAC Common Market Likely to Slash Cost of Consumables

tradenews The East African Common Market (EACM) which came into force on July 1 is expected reduce prices of household items as the new 'competitive' market environment will trigger some price shake-up on many consumables. Though the EACM may take almost five years to become fully operational, the consumers of East African Community (EAC), Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are likely to experience price stabilization much early on.

Uganda branch manager Joshua Ng'ang'a of Nakumatt, a Kenyan supermarket chain said at least commodities in the Ugandan supermarkets would see about 20 percent cut as the imports were overpriced to the tune of same percentage. Besides discounted prices, improvement in quality and increase in variety of items is also anticipated from the start of the common market since producers will have to compete with similar business entities among the EAC member states.

Ng'ang'a argued that one of the other reasons for price reduction apart from competition would be the elimination of middlemen from the procurement scene, allowing the supermarkets to directly source from the producers or manufacturers. According to East African Business Week, the leading supermarkets in Uganda are tight-lipped about the future developments in the retail sector.

Last November, the member states of the EAC signed a common market protocol, aimed at expanding the existing customs union. It is commonplace to economies those form blocs to envisage increased competition along with the free movement of services, capital, entrepreneurship and labour across the member states.

In the absence of trade barriers, the architects of the common market expect the businesses in the region to flourish across borders. All five countries have already adopted a common external tariff, an identical tax applied to imports from outside the bloc, and allowed duty-free regional trade with the exception of Kenya, the largest economy. The EAC also has plans of floating a common currency within two years.

By Jose Roy

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