All East African Community (EAC) Partner States lag behind in implementation of the Common Market Protocol with timelines for the expected actions overtaken by events, it has been observed.
Experts now want the role and functions of the National Implementation Committees to be critically examined if they are to be effective enough in achieving the role.
Addressing a review meeting for officials from the five Partner States – Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi – in Kampala recently, Uganda’s permanent secretary in the EAC Affairs ministry, Ms Edith Mwanje, said there was a growing concern over the slow implementation of the key protocol.
The concerns, according to her, had also been expressed by both the Summit of the EAC Heads of State and the Council of Ministers, which is the policy organ of the community.
Effective implementation means the ordinary citizen can move freely, study, work, reside and generally do business within the true spirit of EA integration and its centrality in trade facilitation.
She urged the experts to provide proposals to unlock any impediments towards realising the cherished goal and aspiration for a prosperous, competitive, secure and politically united East Africa.
Ms Mwanje 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.
The meeting in the Ugandan capital reviewed the overall status of the implementation of the Protocol and noted that generally all the Partner States were still lagging behind in implementing the Protocol, albeit at different levels.
Some of the key challenges and observations made were in regard to the slow pace at which Partner States, according to a statement from the Arusha-based Secretariat, were harmonising their national laws to conform with the EAC Common Market Protocol.