EALA urged to facilitate implementation of Common Market Protocol

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has been called upon to facilitate the implementation of the Common Market Protocol through relevant legislation for the region to benefit from free movement of people and services.
EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega (L), Speaker of Rwandan Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa (C) and Senate president Bernard Makuza chat after the opening of the Assembly sitting in Kigali yesterday. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)
EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega (L), Speaker of Rwandan Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa (C) and Senate president Bernard Makuza chat after the opening of the Assembly sitting in Kigali yesterday. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has been called upon to facilitate the implementation of the Common Market Protocol through relevant legislation for the region to benefit from free movement of people and services.

The challenge to the regional lawmakers was made by Rwandan Senate president Bernard Makuza while opening a session of EALA sitting in Kigali yesterday.

The session was attended by a section of members of the Rwandan Parliament.

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Some of the EALA lawmakers in a group photo. 

Makuza said one of the key expectations of the EAC citizens from their leaders was a comprehensive mechanism to accelerate implementation of the protocol.

“By delaying the implementation of the protocol, we are depriving EAC citizens the promises made to make the East African Community a common market for free movement of people, jobs, service provision, education, financial access and services,” Makuza said.

The EAC Common Market Protocol was signed by the five East African Community Heads of State in 2009 and took effect in 2010 after ratification.

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Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Daniel Kidega,(L) chats with Senate president Bernard Makuza, after the opening ceremony in Kigali.

The main objective of the protocol is to accelerate economic development of the region and foster social ties of the East African community through the elimination of barriers to regional trade and movement of East African citizens.

Member states agreed to ease movement of EAC nationals within East Africa for labour and services.

The protocol also made provisions that goods produced in a member state that are exported to a fellow member state will not be subjected to customs taxes while goods imported in one member state which are exported into another member state will be subject to a common tax regime.

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Minister for East African Community, Valentine Rugwabiza (L) chats with EALA member Christopher Bazivamo before the start of the meeting at parliament.

This was to allow East African consumers access to a variety of commodities and at cheaper prices and for sellers to benefit from a wider market.

The member states had further agreed to progressively remove restrictions on the movement of services so that EAC nationals can freely supply services within the region.

Makuza called on partner states to implement the commitments agreed upon and hold each other accountable to ensure that no partner is left behind.

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Speaker of EALA, Daniel Kidega (L)Senate president Bernard Makuza,(C), and Rwandan Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa follow proceedings at the opening remarks

“We must all push our frontiers to effect the change we desire for our citizens. I urge this special gathering and the August House to seize the opportunity and push for swift implementation all pending commitment across all partner states,” he said.

In the implementation of the protocol and other integration initiatives, Makuza called on the regional Assembly to identify and address whatever was holding back the progress of the community.

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EALA members, chat as they leave parliament after the opening session.

 One of the challenges, he noted, was the low participation of citizens of the region in drafting and formulation of the laws to ensure that they were in the best interest of the population. 

“Our people must be involved and consulted in each step of the process as much as possible. The cost of  failing to involve people ultimately  is much higher than what is required to invest in citizenry participation in the decision making process,” Makuza said.

Over the next two weeks, the lawmakers will also examine two key Bills.

The two draft laws are the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction Bill 2013 and the EAC Forestry Management Bill 2014.

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Speaker of EALA, Daniel Kidega, gives his remarks at parliament during the opening session yesterday.

EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega said the partner states remained determined to seeing the integration pillars succeed, including the Common Market Protocol.

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EALA members,follow proceedings at parliament during the opening session yesterday.

 

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