EALA CALLS FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMMON MARKET PROTOCOL, CITES SENSITISATION AS KEY IN THE PROCESS
East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, Tanzania: February 2, 2016: The Regional Assembly is urging Partner States to "up their game" in sensitization activities particularly when it comes to the Common Market Protocol in order to raise awareness and showcase benefits to the citizens of the region.
At the same time, the EALA wants Partner States to adopt a phased implementation of the EAC Common Market by prioritizing aspects that carry quick wins or deliver immediate multiplier effects. This move shall endear citizens to take advantage of the benefits that shall accrue from the Common Market protocol.
The Assembly today debated and adopted the Report of an Oversight activity on the Security related challenges of implementing the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor.
The Report presented to the House by the Chair of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee, Hon Abdullah Mwinyi follows the oversight activity undertaken by the Committee in the United Republic of Tanzania in November 2015.
The activity aimed at appreciating first-hand, the existing security related operational challenges of implementing the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor; Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) constraints including numerous police road blocks and check points; and the ongoing reforms and projects on course to ease cargo transportation in landlocked Partner States of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
The objective of the Committee was to comprehend and appreciate the implementation of the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor and to ascertain the challenges faced in the implementation.
The Committee held a field trip visiting Dar es Salaam, all through to Vigwaza weighbridge and roadblocks. It further interacted with various stakeholders including officials of the Ministry of EAC, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS). Others included the Business Community, Members of the Tanzania Police Force and the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) Officials.
The Committee observed that United Republic of Tanzania had developed a national Common Market Protocol implementation strategy and a national Committee to realize the same. It further strengthened the National Monitoring Committee for Elimination of Non-Tariff barriers and had commenced on the issuance of the machine readable identifications.
The Committee was nonetheless informed that implementation of the Common Market Protocol continued to lag behind owing to a number of factors including; Inadequate awareness among Private Sector, implementing agencies and the general public on the provisions and implementation of EAC CMP as well as delays by the sectoral Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA's) to amend national laws relevant to the said Protocol. In addition, the Committee took cognisance of the funding requirements for smooth implementation of the EAC Protocol.
During debate, Members noted that Partner States should emulate the United Republic of Tanzania to modernize the weighbridge technology and scales to ensure enhanced speed and accuracy in weighing process targeting reduction of bribery incidences, fines for overloading and time taken in the weighing process.
At the same time, United Republic of Tanzania should work with other Partner States to re-look on the validity through research the issue of yellow fever cards within the EAC region as an impediment to free movement of persons
Hon Bernard Mulengani remarked that it was necessary to also look at security related matters such as Illegal roadblocks, arrests and the ever worrying trend of terrorism gaining entry through the free movement of persons. He further requested the Council of Ministers to clarify on the term foreigner in advent of the Common Market Protocol.
Hon Valerie Nyirahabineza decried the constant delays by Partner States to amend the national laws to conform to the Common Market Protocol. "Article 47 requires Partner States to align their legislation to CMP. This is vital, she said. What happens if the laws in the Partner States are not aligned with that of the EAC? Are we going to continue to benefit from the Protocol? She asked.
"In the case of the Customs Union, we have a legal framework in the name of the Customs Union Management Act. It is a high time we have a coordinating structure to handle this aspect," she added.
Hon Shyrose Bhanji said Tanzania had done well with regards to removal of NTBs. One of the major challenges however is that of lack of sensitization to the public, she said.
"This is not only a recurring problem but looks more like a chronic problem," she said. We need more sensitization to the publics to create awareness here in the country. Even EALA Members need to be more involved in-country This shall enable us also to brief Tanzanians and other East Africans," she said.
Hon Makongoro Nyerere however said the various weighbridges on the central corridor continued to delay the speed of movement of goods. "They need to be reduced so that we also spur free movement of people from one point to another", he added.
"Hon Mumbi Ngaru said the Government of Kenya had continued to prioritise sensitization of its citizens on the EAC. "The Council needs to formulate a policy around sensitization. This is very key., she said.
Others who supported the report were Hon Shyrose Bhanji, Hon Makongoro Nyerere, Hon Martin Ngoga and Hon Ussi Maryam. Hon Odette Nyiamilimo, Hon Isabelle Ndahayo, Hon Christophe Bazivamo and Hon Taslima Twaha also gave a nod to the report.
Source: EAC Press