The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) will convene tomorrow in Kigali where they are scheduled to discuss various issues pertaining regional integration.
The fifth meeting of the 1st session of EALA will end on April 26.
During a news conference yesterday, Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, the EALA Speaker said they intend to deliberate on EAC Vehicle Control Bill and the One-Stop Border Posts bill ,among other issues.
If the Vehicle Control Bill is passed, all partner states will have a harmonised load limit and develop modern weighbridge stations all aimed at protecting roads as well as reducing the costs of transport in the region.
“We have various issues but mainly we shall be debating EAC Vehicle Control Bill and One Stop Border Posts bill,” noted the Speaker
With a harmonised legal regime to govern vehicle loads in the region, businesses and governments in the EAC stand to register an estimated one billion dollars in annual savings from reduced transportation and maintenance costs.
By lowering the cost of doing business in the region, partner states stand to benefit from the improved regional axle load control oversight procedures and the regional ICT connectivity of the weigh scales which the Bill envisages.
The Speaker further expressed concern over the reluctance of some partner states to align their national laws with EAC standards as stipulated by the treaty warning that it could impede the integration process.
Call to revise laws
“To realise the opportunities, partner states need to review their domestic laws to conform to the commitment and undertaking made in the treaty. EALA is appealing to the partner states to address the issue swiftly,” the Speaker added.
The One-Stop-Border Post bill, will provide the legal framework for the operation of border posts of two partner states under one roof, meaning they would become more efficient as Customs and Immigration checks.
The border operations will be conducted in a “common control zone” that would eliminate the current practice that involves checks on both sides of a border between two partner states.
During the two weeks event that will be held at the Parliamentary Buildings, Kimihurura, the lawmakers will also participate in the ongoing commemoration activities in the country including visiting Genocide memorial sites as well as planting trees in remembrance of those who perished in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We want these members from other partner states to understand what happened in Rwanda so they can sensitise others in the region,” Patricia Hajabakiga, Rwandan EALA member said.
Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni are expected to address the Assembly on Tuesday, April 16, and on Thursday, April 18, respectively
President Museveni, the current chairman of the summit, is expected to deliver the State of EAC Address, which espouses on matters of policy and sets momentum and impetus for the integration process.