President Mwai Kibaki has called on partner states in the East Africa Community (EAC) to fast track the plan to remove unnecessary trade barriers to ease doing business in the region.
The Kenyan President delivered the message, on Tuesday, while officiating at the opening of the third meeting of the fourth session of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Nairobi.
In his speech, he reiterated the importance of finalizing the annexure to the Common Market Protocol in efforts towards enabling citizens of the EAC to benefit from the Common Market.
He urged the EALA to be at the forefront in monitoring the implementation of the Protocol, which became operational on July 1, 2010.
The Kenyan leader further called on the partner states to rid the region of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) - including smoothening of clearing procedures and removal of unnecessary roadblocks.
Kibaki stated that NTBs which increased the costs of doing business and discouraged investors were an impediment to the integration process.
He commended the private sector for investing in the region calling upon states to improve infrastructure, especially railways, which he noted were incapacitated.
“The pace of integration has gained momentum and I commend EALA for the oversight and legislative achievements,” Kibaki said.
In his welcome remarks, the Speaker of EALA, Abdirahin Abdi, hailed the milestones realized by the Community to date.
“On our part, we are proud of the tremendous progress the Community is making in the integration efforts. With constant and foresighted guidance from the Summit, the Community is on course in attaining the four main pillars of integration it set out to achieve”, Abdi said.
He noted the EALA had managed to enact six legislations since it last met in Nairobi in May 2010. Over the next two weeks, four Bills are expected to be debated by EALA.