MEMBERS of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) committee on legal rules and privileges have embarked on an exercise to assess the implementation of the EAC treaty requirement on harmonisation of national laws.
According to MP Martin Ngoga, the chairperson of the committee, that sat in Kigali yesterday, EAC partner states need to harmonise their laws to make it easy to implement different protocols that the member states assented to.
During the meeting, the legislators of the regional assembly met with officials from different institutions, including the Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs; the Rwanda Law Reform Commission; the Immigration directorate, among others.
He said similar consultations are being undertaken in other partner states where EALA members are listening to different views from stakeholders in an effort to assess progress and challenges encountered in harmonising the laws.
“The broader idea is to have a legal framework and body of laws that are friendly to each other in order to facilitate interaction among EAC nations in terms of business and other areas of integration,” he said.
“Basically, we are focusing on doing business laws, migration laws, tax laws and others that fall under the protocols in force,” he said.
He added that EALA members will converge in the near future to deliberate on findings from member state consultations and discuss the way forward.
Participants who attended the meeting said it was a good move to engage stakeholders to discuss how to harmonise laws within the bloc, saying once the component is implemented it would ease doing business.
“For instance, if commercial laws are harmonised, Ugandan traders will find it easy to do business in Rwanda because the laws here are the same as those back home,” said Suzan Assiimwe, a legal specialist with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs
There are over 600 laws that need to be harmonised to facilitate EAC realise a common market.