EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY

Kenyans should receive Tanzania work permits

In Summary

• The price of maize has dropped sharply in the Rift Valley after Kenya allowed the import of Tanzanian maize.

• A common market permits free movement of goods and labour. Tanzania should allow more Kenyans to get work permits.

Visiting Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan is welcomed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, May 4, 2021.
Visiting Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan is welcomed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, May 4, 2021.
Image: PSCU

A common market is not painless. There are winners and losers although we all benefit from the larger market.

Last week President Suluhu of Tanzania visited Kenya, her first trip to any country. Everyone hoped that this would lead to an easing of relations between the two countries and a renaissance of the East African Community.

That appears to be what is happening. President Kenyatta has allowed the import of Tanzanian maize that had been blocked over fears of aflatoxin contamination. The price of maize in the Rift Valley immediately dropped from Sh2,800 per bag to Sh2,300 per bag (see P23).

Rift Valley farmers are the losers in opening up the Kenya economy to cheaper Tanzanian producers.

President Kenyatta has shown good faith with this dramatic gesture. It is now up to Tanzania to reciprocate.

Historically Tanzania has been reluctant to issue work permits to Kenyans who are competent and speak good English. Yet there is supposed to be free movement of labour and goods in a common market. It should be automatic for Kenyans to get work permits in Tanzania. President Suluhu should now make that promise a reality.

Quote of the day: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti
The Indian philosopher was born on May 11, 1899