East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, Tanzania: June 21, 2016: The second week of the sensitisation of stakeholders in the Partner States has commenced and will see EALA Members continue with its outreach to regional stakeholders. The sensitisation activities which run up to the back-end of next week are themed: ”EAC Integration Agenda: Accessing the Gains”.
Last week, the Members met a number of stakeholders. In Kigali, the EALA Chapter led by the Chairperson, Hon Patricia Hajabakiga, addressed over 1000 representatives of the National Youth Council in Huye, Southern Province at the weekend.
A number of issues were raised at the outreach programme including youth involvement in strengthening of the integration process, with the Members urging the stakeholder group to take advantage of cross-border opportunities in the region. Earlier on, the Chapter held an interactive session with representatives and the membership of the Private Sector Federation (PSF) Rwanda led by the Chief Executive officer, Stephen Ruzibiza.
EALA Members with Hon Kahinda Otafire (2nd from right), Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Uganda. The Members are from left, Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, Hon Dora Kanabahita, Hon Dr Martin Nduwimana and Hon Nusura Tiperu. On right of the Minister is Hon Bernard Mulengani.
The PSF members urged EALA to ensure the total and complete elimination of NTBs on the corridors especially the Northern Corridor. Last year, EALA enacted the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) Bill 2015 and the piece of legislation is currently undergoing assent in the Partner States. The Private Sector were also succinct that lack of enforcement mechanism on the EAC's laws/policies/decisions continued to hamper trade facilitation. PSF are also urging the Assembly to ensure further involvement of Private Sector in the decision making since EAC is private sector led and market driven.
In Kampala, key highlights of the Uganda Chapter’s outreach program included courtesy calls on cabinet ministers and high ranking government officials. The EALA Members first visited the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Major General Kahinda Otafire. Discussions delved on strengthening integration in readiness for the political federation with the Minister assuring the legislators that the region was fully committed to the integration dispensation.
The EALA Chapter led by Hon Nusura Tiperu also met with the Minister for Trade, Hon Amelia Kyambadde where both parties agreed that Partner States need to ensure standardization of goods and to create an environment that facilitates trade. The legislators then paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Finance, Hon. Mattia Kasaijja and other parastatals. The EALA Members were joined by a section of their colleagues from the Burundi chapter.
The sensitisation and outreach programs of the Assembly in the Republics of Kenya, Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania were also on course as at time of press.
This is the second phase of the outreach programme following a successful phase held in the Partner States in April 2016. The three-week activity hopes to sensitise EAC citizens on the overall integration process and to promote liaision with key stakeholders in the process.
The outreach programme which is been undertaken by the EALA local chapters also hopes to keep the EAC populace informed on the role of EALA in the integration process and to enhance interaction between the Private Sector and the Civil Society.
They include; representatives of local Government associations, and Universities and learning institutions. Other stakeholders are media, Parliaments, women and youth councils, the Private Sector and the women and youth organisations.
Sensitisation is a key component of EALA’s work. The EALA Strategic Plan (2013-2018) envisages a people-centred approach to widening and deepening of the integration agenda.