As the bloc readies to implement the Common Market Protocol next month, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Robert Ssali, has urged Rwandans not to misinterpret its concept on free movement of persons, goods, services and capital.
Ssali said this yesterday after making a presentation on the bloc’s Common Market and Customs Union Protocols during a sensitization session for public institutions at the Ministry’s premises in Kimihurura.
“Free movement does not necessarily mean that people will put down their hoes, leave their cows and move from Rwanda. It doesn’t mean an influx of people. People can only go, through normal channels,” Ssali told reporters, later.
Free movement of workers within the bloc, as stipulated in EAC protocols, has particular guiding limitations.
It means staying in the territory of a partner state in accordance with national laws and administrative procedures governing the employment of workers in that state.
Workers can also enjoy the freedom of association and collective bargaining for better working conditions in accordance with the national laws of a state in which they move to.
According to noted limitations, employment in the public service is limited unless national laws of a host partner state allow it.
“ You can stay in a partner state, provided you entered legally and you are not, for example, running away from Gacaca or other cases,” Ssali explained.
He urged Rwandans to make an effort to understand the bloc’s integration process, projects and programmes.
The Ministry of EAC Affairs stepping up its awareness campaign and various programmes and sessions are expected when it starts an EAC week starting June 24.
Officials in the Ministry are concerned by what they say is still a very low level of awareness, especially on the many opportunities the bloc offers.
Even though some restrictions remain, EAC states have already made commitments to liberalize free movement of services. The commitments are in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) service sector classification, business services; communication services like postal and courier services; educational; financial; as well as construction services.