The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has now resorted to inter-parliamentary seminars (NANYUKI) to bring Members of Parliament from the partner states parliaments on board in order to update them on East Africa Community (EAC) activities.
EALA Speaker Margret Zziwa said that they want to move from the standing committees on EAC affairs that were formed in the partner states parliaments to meeting members of parliaments in all partner states and brief them on the progress of the community, the stages of different policies, share challenges and be able to take stock of what has been done.
She added that they will also engage the business community both formal and informal especially those in trans-border business and share ideas on how to improve their business and challenges found.
She further urged that since the process of achieving a great EAC is people-centred, they are in addition to convene workshops for stake holders in the process like the youth, media, students and women.
Currently the three day inter-parliamentary Relations Seminar (NANYUKI) is on-going in Entebbe with a theme “promoting a people-centred and market driven East Africa”.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who led Uganda’s delegation of Members of Parliament from Uganda noted that there is need for EALA to put the people at the centre by making publications, advocacy programs which are user friendly so that ordinary citizens become a part of the process of integration.
She added that there is also need to get ideas from the people on what they want the community to do since this is their community and their effort is very vital.
She also urged the partner states not to favour foreign investors over East Africans citing that local investors are taxed heavily yet foreign investors are given tax holidays.
She said that partner states governments should also look at black people as serious investors.
Ugandan MP Dennis Hamson Obua said that there is need to come up with a standard recommendation that should be tabled and debated and passed in all parliaments of five member states such that in the next NANYUKI Series each delegation from member states comes up with the status report in terms of implementation of previous recommendations of NANYUKI.
Obua is pessimistic that if this is done the community shall move from talking to implementing the policies passed.