Dar es Salaam - The East African Community (EAC) will embark on implementing protocols to move the region towards achieving integration goals.
Addressing reporters, Tuesday, shortly after returning from the 9th extraordinary Heads of State Summit that took place in Dar es Salaam, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza said that partner states took the resolve to fast track programmes that will see the regional bloc move ahead smoothly.
The Premier, who led the Rwandan delegation to the summit, said that the Heads of States agreed that if the regional bloc was to advance, a lot more needs to be done to tackle the challenges ahead, adding that all organs would be required to double their efforts.
“Most importantly, we discussed about moving towards a single-customs territory and we asked the Council of Ministers to analyse it and see how it can be achieved and present the report of their findings to the summit in November,” Makuza said.
“On the political federation, we talked about the challenges and fears each of the partner states have and we hope that in the next meeting, a group of experts report will inform the Summit in the next meeting, the challenges facing the federation”.
“We can say that while there are still challenges on the integration agenda, there are positives steps that have been taken especially the common market and the customs union,” he said.
“The monetary union is also showing good progress and, in general, you would say all these could lead us towards a political federation”.
Makuza noted that among the key challenges discussed include the issue of East African Development Bank (EADB), which is fighting a legal battle it lost in which it was supposed to pay over US$100 million.
The High Court of Tanzania, however , reversed the case and ordered it to be heard again before a panel of judges, giving EADB a lease of life.
EADB was sued by Protracted Blueline Enterprise Ltd, which went on to win the case but the regional bank has appealed against the ruling.
Makuza said, however, that the regional heads proposed that such cases which involve the region should be tried by the East African Court of Justice and that a study would be carried out to see the possibilities.
Among other things discussed at the summit during which, Dr. Richard Sezibera was appointed the new Secretary General of the bloc, include the Nile Basin issues as well as non-tariff barriers.
Also discussed was regional food security.
During the summit also, Dr. Enos Bukuku, from Tanzania was appointed the Deputy Secretary General of the EAC with a renewable term of three years with effect from 25th April 2011.
He will be responsible for planning and infrastructure replacing Aloys Mutabingwa, who was commended by the summit for a job well done.
Justice Isaac Lenaola, from Kenya was appointed Judge of the East African Court of Justice (First Instance Division) to replace Justice Benjamin Kubo who is retiring.