The second round of the East African Community (EAC) negotiations on the planned free movement of goods, services, capital and persons by the year 2010 have been called-off again for the second time.
According to a statement from the EAC secretariat signed by the community’s Secretary General, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, the postponement again came at the request of Tanzania.
The negotiations were scheduled to take place from May 30 through June 6 in the Kenyan Capital, Nairobi. No new dates have been set.
For some time now, Tanzania, one of the five member states, has been claiming that it’s not yet ready for the discussions. It is for the third time the largest East African nation has requested for postponement.
During the Kigali negotiations last month, Tanzania had pleaded for postponement in order to finalise with their national budget estimates and preparations for the Sullivan Forum only for the EAC Secretariat to turn down their request.
It is believed that Tanzania could still be internalizing the Kigali report. The second phase of negotiations was expected to discuss preparatory activities in the run-up to a Monetary Union.
“The postponement is also to allow the regional bloc founder members (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) finalise the EAC budgeting process that ends by mid August,” the statement reads in part. New members Rwanda and Burundi will be integrated into the EAC budget system in June next year.
According to Prudence Sebahizi, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s Regional Integration Committee (RIC), continued postponements of negotiations was a big threat to the proposed negotiation roadmap whose deadline is December, 2008.