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Waiguru concerned by EAC's reluctance

21 February 2014, 14:11 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary, Anne Waiguru has raised concerns over reluctance in the removal of trade barriers affecting free flow of goods and services around the East African Community market.

Waiguru said that there is need for political support to ensure there is faster economic integration in eliminating the witnessed regional trade restrictions.

“The benefits of the EAC common market is only possible through operating in a secure and politically safe environment and this way we will be able to deliver on the huge responsibility of bringing some level of comfort to the East Africans,” said Waiguru.

Waiguru added that movement of goods, services and capital are the pillars of regional integration, and thus called on all five East African governments to be committed and work collaboratively to ensure that citizens enjoy the rights of residence, incorporation and establishment.

EAC Secretary General, Richard Sezibera said that there is need to liberalize free movement of labour which he noted is one of the key issues that led to the collapse of the old East Africa community.

Sezibera added that there is need to harmonize taxes among member countries especially Value Added Tax and Excise Duty.

He reiterated that the removal of trade restrictions will promote regional trade since goods and services will be flowing freely in EAC markets.

The 2014 EAC score card report reveals that regional trade has almost doubled from USD 1.6 billion in 2005 to USD 3.8 billion in 2010 adding that the intra-EAC trade also rose from 7.5 percent to 11.5 percent in the same period.

The report also shows that from the implementation of common market protocol in 2010, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have introduced at least 10 restrictions on the movement of capital.

The report further ranks Kenya at the top among EAC countries for making it easier for capital to move across East Africa by opening up 17 out of the 20 restricted operations. Rwanda is ranked second followed by Uganda for having opened up 15 restrictions while Burundi and Tanzania have only opened up four restriction operations.

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