from the Star (Kenya)..
BY LOLA OKULO
July 2, 2013
TANZANIA and Burundi have made little steps in implementing the East African Common Market protocol compared to their peers in the region, reports given on the treaty’s third anniversary yesterday indicate.
The common market protocol was signed in November 2009 between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and became operational on July 1 2010. It gave four freedoms aimed at facilitating trade and investments among the EAC member states.
Those freedoms are free movement of goods, labour, services and capital.
Countries were to harmonise their various national laws that interfere with the implementation of these freedoms though for all members, several laws are yet to be amended to allow for this.
“Kenya has opened its service sector to other members but these sectors are not as open in the other countries,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO Betty Maina.
She was speaking in Nairobi during an event to mark the third anniversary of the protocol.
Regional integration secretary Barack Ndegwa said that while there have been achievements in free movement of goods because of the enactment of a custom law, a lot of areas under the deal are yet to be made operational.
Ndegwa said that four out of the five EAC states had agreed to use national identity cards to facilitate free movement of citizens within the region. Uganda has started piloting smart ID cards and Rwanda has fully implemented this by issuing smart national IDs.
On free movement of workers, Kenya and Rwanda are the only ones that have waived work permit fees. As regards free movement of capital, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have removed restrictions to make this work.
“But for Tanzania and Burundi there is still work to be done,” said Ndegwa on the capital issue.
Despite these challenges, the Kenya government reports an increase in exports to the region from Sh101 billion in 2010 to Sh134 billion in 2012.
Imports from the EAC have also increased from Sh20 billion in 2010 to Sh30 billion as at end of last year.
On the monetary union, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs Phyllis Kandie said negotiations are at final stages with the EAC council of ministers scheduled to meet by August to finalise the protocol so that it is ready for signing by November.