KIGALI, RWANDA- Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) said there is a growing frustration over the slow rate of turning the East African Community Treaty into reality.
“… the Treaty, because it has not been amended to take into consideration the new realities in the region,” she said.
This was at the end of the EALA two week sessions held at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kigali, Rwanda.
She said “The duty of amending the Treaty is vested in the Summit (Heads of State), but the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs has not been proactive enough considering the fact that the proposals for amendment were made to the Council over four years ago.”
She said it is important for the Attorneys Generals in each partner state to prioritise EAC matters.
“We are thus relying on you and on the Summit to ‘nudge and to remind’ them to swing into action,” she said.
She added that although the Assembly appreciates the address by the Heads of State every time a session starts in the Partner States, but this is not enough.
“We look forward to the revival of the Kigali Retreat, a brainchild of President Paul Kagame where the Chair of the Summit invited all the organs of the Community to interface on the progress of the EAC,” Zziwa said.
She said that although the Common Market Protocol was signed three years ago, there is a lack of real dynamism on part of the partner states to move implementation along.
“Steps like issuance of national identity cards will go a long way in facilitating the free movement of the people especially the common person,” she said.
She said EAC integration envisages the Monetary Union which is a more delicate phase because it ushers in the common currency and the harmonization of the macro-economic policies of the Partner States.
Zziwa said: “We need to roll up our sleeves to prepare both the human, institutional and business environments since the date set up for the entry of the Monetary Union of November 30, 2013 is fast approaching.”
She said that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are responsible for the high cost of doing business in the region.
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