Daily Monitor (Uganda)
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To ease trade in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), there are plans to introduce a common business visa.

During the Comesa Business Forum participants last week, the development of the Comesa Business Visa; a common multiple entry visa applicable for business persons in the region, was discussed.

In recent years, Comesa countries have made strides in implementing protocols such as issuing visas on arrival, issuing 90-day visas and deployment of Comesa desks to facilitate Comesa citizens at ports of entry.

However, the delegates attending the forum acknowledged that currently, the frameworks for movement of business persons have not been facilitative enough to be embraced.

The proposed instruments would facilitate their movement, enhance trade and deepen regional integration.

Zambia Minister of Home Affairs Steven Kampyongo said: ‘Free movement of people makes it possible for economic actors to learn of opportunities which they strive to meet at the most competitive prices. This in turn improves the welfare of both producers and consumers.’

He said Comesa can only realise its promises of free trade and prosperity when there was free movement of economic actors including capital and labour.

Comesa Assistant Secretary General (programmes) Dr Kipyego Cheluget, observed that more needs to be done to ensure smooth flow and facilitation of business persons for enhanced trade facilitation.

Trade among Comesa member countries increased to $22 billion (Shs75.4 trillion) in 2015 up from $3 billion (Shs10.2 trillion) recorded in 2000.

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