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I5th meeting of the Sectoral Council of ministers for EAC affairs and planning ends in Kampala / Ministers call for fast tracking harmonization of national laws to conform with the EAC Common Market Protocol

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, January 30, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The 15th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning concluded today at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Uganda with a call to all the Partner States to fast track harmonization of the respective national laws to conform to the EAC Common Market Protocol.

Addressing the opening of the Ministerial session, the Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera noted that implementation of the provisions of the Common Market Protocol since its launch in July 2010 was evidently lagging far behind and called upon the Partner States to expedite the harmonization of the respective national laws to conform to the Common Market Protocol.

In order to hasten the pace of implementation of the Common Market Protocol, the Sectoral Council directed Partner States to establish National Implementation Committees (NICs) by March 2012 under the chairmanship of the Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs. The NICs are to be composed of (but not limited to) the following Ministries/Institutions: EAC Affairs; Immigration; Labour and Employment; Trade; Education; Finance; Planning; AG chambers; Revenue Authorities; Central Banks; Bureaus of Statistics; Private Sector Foundations and Civil Society.

The Sectoral Council also directed Partner States to harmonize their respective national laws to conform to the EAC Common Market Protocol by December 2012.

The Sectoral Council approved the global priority interventions to be implemented over the Financial Year 2012/13 to include among others; consolidation of the Customs Union, including carrying out activities that will enable the region to turn into a Single Customs territory; implementation of the Common Market Protocol, in particular, operationalizing the free movement of labor, as well as the integration of the regional financial markets to allow for free movement of capital; and completion of negotiations on the East African Community Monetary Union Protocol.

Other global priority interventions approved include cooperation in cross-border infrastructure, and in particular commencement of construction of the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi road and conclusion of detailed designs for the Malindi-Lunga Lunga-Tanga-Bagamoyo road; One Stop Border Posts at Namanga, Rusumo, Holili-Taveta, Lungalunga-Horohoro, Kabanga-Kobero and Kagitumba; completion of the detailed studies for the Dar-Isaka- Kigali/ Keza-Musongati rail; and Rail links between Kenya-Uganda, Uganda-Tanzania.

Others include harmonization of EAC energy generation as well as construction of inter connectors already identified; resource mobilization for modernization, rehabilitation and expansion of Bujumbura, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, and Kigoma ports; establishment of the Upper Flight Information Region; and lastly implementation of the EAC broadband infrastructure network.

The Sectoral Council also took note of the progress so far made in the formulation of the dialogue framework and rules of procedure for the engagement, involvement and participation of the private sector and civil society in the EAC integration.

The Sectoral Council directed the Secretariat to circulate the draft dialogue framework and rules of procedure to the Partner States and directed Partner States to undertake national consultations amongst stakeholders and submit final comments to the Secretariat.

The Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Kenya's Minister of the East African Community, Hon. Musa Sirma; Uganda's 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of EAC Affairs, Rt. Hon. Eriya Kategeya; Tanzania's Deputy Minister of East African Cooperation, Hon. Abdala Juma Saadala; Rwanda's Minister of EAC Affairs, Hon. Monique Mukaruliza; and Burundi's Minister of the Office of the Presidency responsible for EAC Affairs, Hon. Hafsa Mossi led their respective Ministerial delegations to the meeting.