Three days into the last session of the Common Market negotiations, the High Level Task Force (HLTF) has failed to resolve outstanding issues from the Kampala meeting, The New Times has learnt.
The outstanding issues concern free movement of persons (article 7(5)), the right of establishment and residence (raised by Tanzania), and free movement of services in the region.
Tanzania has maintained its stand with reservations on the use of national identification documents issued by partner states to be used as a basis for identifying citizens of the Community to facilitate free movement of the holders.
The meeting of the HLTF negotiating the EAC Common Market protocol opened on Monday in Zanzibar ends on Friday, October 7th.
Speaking to The New Times from Arusha on Wednesday, Prudence Sebahizi, the chief negotiator for Rwanda on the HLTF, confirmed that no substantial progress had been made on the outstanding issues.
“…it is clear that no concession will be reached. There is nothing new because we retained the same areas bracketed, so far all we have done is to review them but nothing has changed,” he said.
Sebahizi also observed that on Wednesday, HLTF agreed to tackle new areas that include: approximation of laws and the commercial policy.
The outstanding issues will be included in the report to be submitted to the multi-sectoral council (Permanent Secretaries) for further consideration and discussion.
“We will use the limited time to discuss new areas while the outstanding issues will be underlined in the report to the multi-sectoral council at the end of this meeting. The multi-sectoral committee is expected to reach consensus and if it fails, it will also refer the issues to the Council of Ministers meeting,” he explained.
Partner states have also not reached a consensus on the right of establishment and residence of partner member state nationals that entails the right to freely establish and do business without any restrictions.
The meeting of the multi-sectoral coordination committee on the EAC Common Market protocol will commence on November 10-11.