President Kenyatta wants EAC integration hastened to promote businesses
15 October 2015, 08:18
Nairobi – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on regional partner states to hasten the East African Community (EAC) integration process to allow and promote free flow of people, goods and services across the borders.
Kenyatta, who addressed the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Nairobi pointed out that delayed implementation of the proposed EAC protocols by East African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi was an impediment to development.
“Our union must be strengthened to allow free flow of people, capital and services. We have to allow our people to take their skills and capital wherever they will be best rewarded,” said Kenyatta.
He particularly challenged EALA to fast track the legislation process of the EAC common market protocol which anchors the right to freedom of movement and cautioned that existing political union amongst partner countries can’t be achieved without eliminating barriers of economic development.
Kenyatta, in responding to EALA’s call for regional states to fund the Assembly directly, agreed to the plea saying such autonomy could remarkably reduce the current bureaucracy that has stifled its operations.
“I’m in full support of this proposal and I will collaborate with other leaders to see it implemented,” he assured.
Kenyatta also promised to approach other member state Presidents in forging the best ways in addressing the challenge of assenting to EALA bills.
For instance, he said they would try and simplify the process of presidential assent to the bills by signing them whenever they meet in common forums at the East African Head of States Summit instead of exposing the bills to tedious process of moving them from one country to another.
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“In fact, the Appropriations bill should not require signing and consent of all of us. The summit chairman can be allowed to sign so that we don’t delay the Assembly’s operations,” proposed Kenyatta.
He further asked neighboring states to work closely improving regional infrastructure such as roads, railway and air transport for efficiency and effectiveness in ferrying people, goods and services in promoting economies of partner states.
Kenyatta also wished Tanzania a peaceful general election and promised to work with the incoming government.
The EALA Speaker, Daniel Kidega concurred with Kenyatta’s plea on the need for regional member states to open up free trade without any restrictions.
“The EAC citizens have a right to move freely and work in any partner state. A few work in other partner countries because they face many challenges,” said Kidega.
Kidega proposed for the harmonization of work permits in promoting implementation of regional integration to allow citizens from member States work freely and avert the problem of discrimination by immigration officials at border points.
The Assembly also asked calle partner states to help it become fully autonomous.
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