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Delays Found In Implementing EAC Common Market Protocol

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

20 February 2013

A review that has been recently concluded on the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol has expressed concern at the slow pace of its implementation, and emphasized the need for National Implementation Committees to reflect on how implementation can be put back on track.

The Protocol between the EAC’s partner states (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) was signed in October 2009 and came into force on July 1, 2010, and is intended to facilitate the free movement of goods, labor and services. It followed the establishment of a Customs Union in 2005.

At the time that the Protocol came into force, it was recognized that it was only the beginning of a process of integration, with the Protocol as a basic framework that would need various policies and measures to be put in place during a long implementation process. The review has noted, however, that generally all the partner states are now lagging behind in implementing the Protocol, albeit at different levels.

Addressing partner states’ experts in Kampala on February 15, Uganda’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Edith Mwanje, urged the experts to provide proposals to unlock any impediments towards implantation of the Protocol and to examine how best to deal with the commitments under the Protocol “whose timelines for implementation may have been overtaken by events.”

In particular, she stressed the need to examine the recurring problem of non-tariff barriers on the free movement of goods, and urged the experts to propose effective measures to ensure that what had been agreed upon at the regional level is not derailed.

Some of the key observations made were in regard to the slow pace at which Partner States were harmonizing their national laws to conform to the Protocol. With regard to the monitoring and evaluation framework, the experts noted the lack of a standardized reporting period and of data collection; and the need to design specific monitoring and evaluation tools for certain areas, such as the free movement of services, goods and capital, and in quality assurance and testing.

TAGS: tax | tariffs | trade treaty | agreements | Kenya | Rwanda | Uganda | trade | Burundi | Tanzania | services

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