East African Community affairs, Monique Mukaruliza

Following the slow implementation of the Common Market Protocol, ministers in charge of East African Community (EAC) affairs have now formed a focal point committee to be based in each of the partner countries to purposely facilitate the implementation process.

The resolution is one of the recommendations reached during the 15th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for EAC Affairs that ended in Kampala, Uganda on Friday.

According to Rwanda’s Monique Mukaruliza, the Minister for EAC affairs, each of the five EAC partner states will have a National Implementation Committee (NIC) to help monitor and follow up on issues affecting the operationalisation of the protocol.

“We are not satisfied with the level of implementation, there is nothing concrete that has so far been implemented,” she told The New Times in Kampala yesterday.

Almost two years after the protocol came into force, the process is frustratingly slow and analysts have blamed this on slow progress in fast-tracking of the harmonisation of national laws among the five partner states to conform to the agreement.

The NIC’s will comprise of ministries of; EAC, Justice, Trade, Education, Finance, Planning Immigration, Labour and Employment, and offices of the attorneys general. Other members will be revenue authorities, Central banks, Statistics agencies, Private sector organs and the civil society.

Mukaruliza stated that the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania will be charged with organising meetings through which each partner will report on how their respective committees are performing, and later report to EAC Council of Ministers.

“From the reports we shall get, we will know how each country is performing, and those lagging behind will be required to explain why,” the Minister added.

The ministers approved the global priority interventions to be implemented over the Financial Year 2012/13, which covers consolidation of the Customs Union and activities that will enable the region to become a Single Customs territory.

Others include the implementation of the Common Market Protocol, in particular, operationalisation of the free movement of labour, as well as the integration of the regional financial markets to allow for free movement of capital; and completion of negotiations on the monetary union protocol.

By Gashegu Muramira, The New Times

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