By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- President of Uganda and the Chair of the EAC Summit of Heads of State, H.E Yoweri Museveni is urging the EAC to strive for market driven integration to enable the region mutually benefit from trade with other regions. The President who was addressing the two-day 7th Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar (Nanyuki VII) which ended Saturday afternoon in Entebbe, Uganda consequently called for creation of better synergies between producers and consumers, technological advancement and better infrastructure.

The President reiterated the need for the region to invest in electricity, the railways and the roads in order to lower the costs of doing business in the region.

President Museveni was categorical that an integrated East African market was a better magnet in pulling together investments. “An investor is more enthusiastic when he/she hears of the market of 133 million East Africans other than hearing of the market of just 35 million Uganda,” the Head of State added.

The President lauded legislators of EALA and the National Assemblies and told them to re-double their efforts in sensitisation around the region.

The meeting which commenced Friday had a number of key presentations and papers delivered by various stakeholders.

In some of the key recommendations, the Seminar urged the Council of Ministers to promote Kiswahili language as a lingua franca of the Community as per Article 137 of the EAC Treaty to uphold among others East Africanness as an identity. EALA was also tasked to team up with the East African Local Government Association to organize the Nanyuki Series at local levels with Councillors to facilitate integration message reach out the majority East Africans at that level. The legislators also rooted for the formation of an East African Youth Council in a move that shall see the development of regional youth centres, exchange programmes and enhance the skills and entrepreneurship to promote youth agenda in the region.

Yesterday, EALA Speaker Margaret Nantongo Zziwa told the parliamentarians that the region needed to fully implement the Common Market Protocol.

“East Africans up to now still wonder why they are subjected to work permits and other charges yet the Common Market Protocol is under implementation. By the time you leave this meeting, you will have picked crucial information that you should pass to our people in different places in East Africa like Nyamirambo (in Rwanda) and Mtwara (in Tanzania),” she said.

Uganda's Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga asked national governments to stop over-taxing local investors yet favoring foreigner investors with huge tax incentives.

The Vice President of the Senate of Rwanda, Rt. Hon Bernard Makuza called on leaders in the region to fight negation and propagation of genocide ideology in the Community and beyond.

“Genocide ideology is a virus and the vaccine is the leaders in the region,” he told the audience.

Hon Makuza who headed the Rwandan delegation at the seminar, called on the lawmakers to domesticate regional protocols by harmonizing laws that will spur business and good governance in the region.

This approach, Makuza added, is the best way of attracting foreign investments as well as positioning the EAC as a strong competitor with other regional groupings and international trade partners.

Florence Kajuju, a Kenyan Member of Parliament called on the EAC to be aware of the emerging global realities and enhance the participation of the private sector and civil societies in its activities.

“As leaders and representatives of the people, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a lot needs to be done with more emphasis on the consolidation and strengthening of the long-standing political, economic, social, cultural and traditional ties and associations between the peoples of the region in promoting people-centred development,” Kajuju said.

The Seminar (Nanyuki VII) is one of the avenues through which the EALA fulfils its mandate under Article 49 (2) of the EAC Treaty to specifically liaise with National Assemblies of the EAC Partner States on matters relating to the regional bloc.