- Delays in the release of Covid-19 test results is among issues cargo transporters raised with the Kenyan and Ugandan governments before they went on strike in May.
- PS Desai leads EAC ministry officials and private sector representatives to Malaba town to respond to complaints by industrialists
About 50,000 drivers have downloaded a mobile app through which they get their Covid-19 test results.
This means the drivers’ particulars are now available on an online system that the government uses to transmit coronavirus test results to the transporters.
Drivers with the app on their mobile phones do not have to travel to Covid-19 testing centres to collect their results. The outcome of the tests is relayed directly to their phones.
The app, which was officially rolled out on October 1, is an initiative of the government in conjunction with the European Union.
Its introduction is meant to hasten transmission of Covid-19 test results which will subsequently help reduce snarl-ups by cargo trucks along the Northern Corridor.
East African Community and Regional Development PS Kevit Desai on Tuesday said although the app initially had efficiency challenges because of the high number of subscribers enrolling for its usage, its functionality had tremendously improved.
“From what I understand today is that 50,000 drivers have already uploaded effectively onto the system. Of course the system in this initial phase gets overwhelmed because of the large number of people trying to get into it. But I have been assured that all these teething issues will be solved,” Desai said.
The app also enables drivers to locate all Covid-19 testing centres.
“We are going into a phase where we are going to provide information on the destination for the drivers to make decisions before they come to the border point,” Desai said.
“Further information will be provided with respect to the time left for their certificates to get ready and this information and further sensitisation will assist to create effective pathways for drivers and truckers to be involved in the whole process of enhancing productivity and innovation.”
Desai was speaking in Malaba where he led a team from his ministry and private sector representatives to the border town to respond to complaints by industrialists that some food products imported into the country contain aflatoxin.
The initiators of the mobile app primarily target cross-border truck drivers who have constantly complained of delays at the border. They have numerously complained that it takes as many as five days for their Covid-19 test results to be released.
“We are going to ensure that the platform becomes more interactive and ultimately to the principle that it has to serve the truck driver and the trucking industry for greater productivity, safety and innovation during these times of Covid-19,” Desai said.
He spoke two weeks after truck drivers plying the Northern corridor went on strike for three days to protest against the delayed release of the Covid-19 test results.
The Eldoret-Bungoma-Malaba Highway has for the last seven months experienced long queues formed by cargo trucks transporting goods into Uganda due to delays in the release of the truckers’ coronavirus results. The drivers claim some results would take one week to be released.