The East African Business Council (EABC), the apex body for the regional private sector, has requested for more recognition from the bloc to enable it play a more active role in integration process.
Agatha Nderitu, the Council’s Executive Director, yesterday said that the body is currently tied to only holding an ‘observer status’ at the East African Community (EAC) leaving it with no powers to participate in policy formulation, design and implementation.
“We want to have an institutionalized framework of engagement with the EAC, what we do now is based on goodwill,” she told The New Times by phone from Arusha, Tanzania.
The regional business council is currently chaired by Rwanda’s Faustin Mbundu.
During the recently concluded 3rd EAC Investment Conference held in Kampala, the EABC passed a number of recommendations which included requesting the EAC secretariat to mainstream the private sector in its policy making organs.
In a separate interview, Alloys Mutabingwa, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Planning and Infrastructure) said that there should be a mechanism of effectively handling the public and private sector in order for them to play a vibrant role in the integration process.
On EABC’s request for active participation, the EAC senior official observed that by the body seeking to be an institution of the community, this would make it join the public sector mainstream and therefore leaving a gap for a body to serve the interests of the private sector.
“I have discussed this with the Council of Ministers and the EABC. It all comes to what can work better for the community because for integration to succeed, we need both the private and public sectors,” he said.
Through a framework of engagement, EABC requests that the private sector be allowed to channel private sector positions through well defined interface points with EAC decision making organs.
In a regional business dialogue held shortly after the conference, participants also highlighted the lack of domestication of policies agreed at EAC level, adding that this is caused by either failing to or delaying in enacting the relevant enabling legislation.