Several cabinet ministers were yesterday briefed by the Ministry of East African Community (MINEAC) on the practicability of the EAC Common Market Protocol.
The protocol establishing the Common Market was signed on November 20, last year, in Arusha during the 11th EAC Heads of State Summit, and was recently ratified by Parliament.
“We have been conducting sensitization meetings since January and our plan is to reach out to all categories of people in all sectors,” said the Permanent Secretary of EAC ministry, Robert Ssali.
The Minister for EAC, Monique Mukaruliza said that; “there has not been enough time for all Rwandans to read the protocol instrument, which is why we are conducting sensitization meetings with major stakeholders.”
The protocol, which is aimed at facilitating trade between member states of the regional bloc, is expected to enter into force on July 1, 2010 upon ratification by all partner states.
The minister highlighted the lack of proper awareness of the instrument as one of the major challenges likely to hamper the implementation of the protocol once it comes into force.
“There were errors done on our side; we entered the negotiations without studying the practicability of the protocol, and that is why we are facing problems of awareness, and indeed some Rwandans have expressed lack of awareness,” conceded Mukaruliza.
“We are just starting to evaluate how Rwandans perceive the common market protocol. Although it has come late, but the study will help us in the implementation process.”
The overall objective of the EAC Common Market is to widen and deepen cooperation among the partner states in the economic and social fields for the benefit of the citizens.
The implementation of the protocol will accelerate economic growth and development through the attainment of the free movement of goods, persons and labour, the rights of establishment and residence and the free movement of services and capital.
In general terms, the protocol will strengthen, coordinate and regulate the economic and trade relations among the partner states in order to promote accelerated, harmonious and balanced development within the community.
Rwanda in particular, will benefit from the lower transaction costs for businesses since bureaucracy and exchange rate fluctuation will be under control.