KAMPALA - The long awaited EAC Common Market Protocol which is scheduled to be in force by January next year has at last reached its final stage and will be ready for signing by the Heads of State on November 20.
This was revealed during the meeting by the multi-sectoral council on the protocol that was convened in Kampala to receive the final report from the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Protocol.
The outcome from the eight-day experts meeting on the Common Market protocol negotiations that started last Monday were forwarded to Ministers of EAC Affairs for approval.
According to Rwanda’s Minister for EAC affairs, Monique Mukaruliza, stakeholders have finally reached a consensus on key issues of the draft protocol and annexes.
Mukaruliza further noted that the remaining part in getting the protocol in place is the approval by the legal and the judicial sectoral council who will forward it to the full Council of Ministers.
Speaking to The New Times Uganda’s Minister for EAC, Eriya Kategaya noted that the EAC common market once in place, will attract more investments with a broadened market of over 120 million people.
“This meeting comes at a critical time when we are requested to consider the progress report on the Protocol negotiations before it’s submission to the council and later to the Heads of State Summit,” said Mukaruliza who is also the chairperson of the Council of Ministers.
It is believed that once the Protocol is signed, the East Africans will enjoy the free movement of goods, labour, capital, persons, services and the right of establishment and residence within the five countries.
It is however reported that matters pertaining to permanent residence and cross-border investment shall not be governed under the protocol but by national legislations in the respective partner states.