S. Sudan-Kenya mull visa free movement for citizens
By Paul Jimbo
The Ministry of Interior Affairs is fast tracking efforts to ensure citizens from both South Sudan and Kenya enjoy free movement between the two countries.
Yesterday, Stephen Doctor Matatia, the Director General of External Trade, Ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs said the move will boost trade between South Sudan and Kenya.
He said officials from the ministries concerned including the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Immigration and concerned authorities recently met and agreed on modalities of ensuring both sides drop the visa restrictions and requirements.
Matatia was speaking in an exclusive interview when he paid a courtesy call at Juba Monitor offices yesterday.
He was accompanied by Rokon County Commissioner,Simon Muzee Noel.
“This is a going to be a backbone of our trade and investment initiatives, the same products produced in South Sudan are produced in Kenya and so we must harmonize our trade terms,” Matatia said.
He said South Sudan should focus more on promoting trade with its neighbours by producing competitive products.
“We have some institutions like the Competitive Authority Machinery, a body that is set to ensure no monopoly,” he said.
Matatia said South Sudan has a lot of investment potential that if properly tapped can put the country at per with its East African Community partners.
“The war is useless, we were born in war and cannot wait to die in war, peace is what we need, this country has virgin land, untapped potential and this will soon be displayed once peace is signed,” he stated.
Commissioner Simon Muzee Noel said his county has enjoyed relative peace since February this year.
“We have not had any major incident compared to previous years when we experienced tough times. Hunger is the biggest threat in my county and I appeal for help to support food production,” he said.
He said most farms have been affected by some worms and this might affect crop production this season.
Commissioner Simon said the government supported local farmers with some incentives including a tractor to boost farming.
“We have farmers who give sorghum or groundnuts to cover the cost of tilling their lands,” he said.
Simon said some companies have been supporting the county through construction of roads and fixing bridges to solve the seasonal flooding that affects most farmland.