The portfolios of Ministers in charge of East African Community (EAC) affairs are set to get a boost with additional responsibilities once a new proposal is approved.
The move is aimed at ensuring sustainability of the regional bloc, by reflecting on and avoiding the challenges that contributed to the collapse of the first EAC in 1977.
The community envisages having the five ministers share regional portfolios, which include; administration and finance, infrastructure and planning, peace and security, productive and social sectors and customs and trade.
The internal arrangement among the ministers is a recommendation of the EAC Kigali strategic retreat and a resolution of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
According to the EAC Affairs Minister, Monique Mukaruliza, the EAC secretariat is yet to collect country positions on the proposal before tabling it at the Council of Ministers’ meeting scheduled for next month in Arusha.
“By doing this, the bloc will be more secure because we will be meeting more regularly to evaluate how far we have gone with the portfolios,” the Minister said yesterday in an interview with The New Times.
Currently, the ministers in charge of EAC affairs play a role of coordinating the regional bloc’s projects and programmes among their respective countries, they are also ex-officio members of EALA.
Mukaruliza added that in an effort to ensure proper continuity of implementation of the EAC programmes, the ministers will keep alternating in their portfolios on an annual basis.
When contacted for a comment over the proposal, infrastructure minister Linda Bihire said that Rwanda would be grateful to serve the community in a portfolio like infrastructure.
“We would really welcome it because we have always been limited by substandard infrastructure,” Bihire said.
The development will see the regional bloc achieve many of its objectives that include deepening regional integration and marketing the EAC as a single investment destination.