Public still ignorant of common market – EALA MPs

KIREHE – There is need to sensitise people about what the East African Community Common Market Protocol entails, members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) say. Led by Abdul Karim Harerimana, members of the regional parliament made the remarks while visiting the Eastern township of Rusumo that borders Tanzania on Monday.
EALA MPs Odette Nyiramirimo (2nd right)  and Kate Kamba (L) talk to a clearing agent at the Rusumo border post on Monday. The New Times / John Mbanda.
EALA MPs Odette Nyiramirimo (2nd right) and Kate Kamba (L) talk to a clearing agent at the Rusumo border post on Monday. The New Times / John Mbanda.

KIREHE – There is need to sensitise people about what the East African Community Common Market Protocol entails, members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) say.

Led by Abdul Karim Harerimana, members of the regional parliament made the remarks while visiting the Eastern township of Rusumo that borders Tanzania on Monday.

Harerimana, told The New Times that the tours they have conducted across the region established that most people demonstrated a high level of ignorance about the protocol.

“It is lamentable that residents in the member states do not know what the common market protocol is about. It is even worse because most government’ employees also seem to be ignorant,” he said.

Harerimana added that some member states have not lived to their expectations, saying certain aspects remain unobserved.

He cited Tanzania, where free movement of workers is yet to be observed since people from member states seeking employment there, still have to part with US$200 for a work permit.

“There is a pink certificate of origin...it goes with a list of goods not taxed as per the protocol. It is only Tanzania that has not availed it, so they owe an explanation to EALA,” Harerimana said.

Legislator Kate Kamba, reiterated the need to sensitise the EAC population on the “dos and don’ts” of the protocol.

She said that the kind of ignorance exhibited should end to pave way for a 24-hour one-stop-border-post operation.

Kamba noted that complaints about certificates of origin, particularly the pink one, should forthwith be addressed.

“It is disheartening to see this border operating in darkness...water just flows to Lake Victoria. We hope the long term hydro-electricity project will materialise,” she said of the Rusumo waterfalls.

Hamad Ali, a Tanzanian resident, requested the Rwanda Customs officials to relax some minor irregularities, which inevitably occur time and again.

“We suffer due to the stringency of the Rwandan side...they go into details of taxing even a single mattress, task us with a lot of paper work, and so forth. This should stop to show there is indeed free movement of goods,” he observed.

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