Single Customs Territory
On the EAC Single Customs Territory, Mohamed said that during the next financial year, Customs would focus on some key areas, among them: Finalization of the review and development of Customs Union Instruments including the comprehensive review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET), EAC Customs Management Act 2004, and the EAC Regional Customs bond and the regulatory framework for the Assembly Sector.
Customs would also focus on consolidation of the gains of the Single Customs Territory for the full attainment of a fully-fledged Customs Union; Enhancement of Interconnectivity of systems in key sectors to facilitate information exchange; Development of suitable infrastructure to facilitate cross border women traders, and; Strengthening of mechanisms to resolve Customs related Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) that hamper intra EAC trade.
On the Monetary Union, Mohamed informed the House that in February 2021, the 40th meeting of the Council of Ministers decided that the Act for the Establishment of the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) comes into force on 1st July, 2021.
“The notice for the commencement of EAMI Act was subsequently gazetted in March 2021. Official communication notifying Partner States to express interest to host the EAMI was forwarded to the Partner States in May 2021,” said the Council Chair, adding that once established, the EAMI would be expected to carry out much of the preparatory work for the creation of the East African Monetary Union.
On infrastructure development, in the FY 2021/2022, Mohamed said that the Secretariat would continue implementing successor multinational road projects linking Partner States and the Phase II OSBP programme including the design, construction and operationalization of 12 new prioritized OSBPs within the EAC region.
“The Secretariat has further secured funding amounting to US$ 1,748,565 from the AfDB for undertaking design of the multinational Burundi/Tanzania Road: Mpanda (Vikonge)-Uvinza and Uvinza-Kanyani/Gisuru-Rusengo and Makebuko-Bugarama sections,” he said.
On civil aviation, Mohamed said the EAC Partner States had committed to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision as part of the Common Market Protocol and in line with the ongoing efforts by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) to establish and operationalize the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
On legislation, Mohamed informed the Assembly of the passing the East African Community Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2) Bill, 2020; the East African Community Appropriation Bill, 2020; The Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill, 2020; and the East African Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“The Assembly also adopted a number of resolutions in order to further its legislative work, the notable one being, the resolution to establish an emergency fund to facilitate the response of the Community to Pandemics and Disease outbreaks to the Council,” said the CS.
“The Assembly’s representative role was undertaken through the respective EALA Chapters in the Partner States. The Chapters undertook sensitization of the people of EAC on the regional integration process, on the theme, “EAC beyond 22 years: EAC Integration Agenda: Accessing the gains of Integration,” he said.
He added that in the next Financial Year, the Assembly would prioritize the enactment of the Bills which are under consideration by its Standing Committees (the EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2020, the East African Community Pharmaceuticals Bill, 2020; the EAC Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Bill, 2021 and the EAC Livestock Bill, 2021), oversight of the implementation of EAC COVID-19 Recovery Plan and continued sensitization of the people to support the integration process.
On the East African Court of Justice, Mohamed said a number of new cases filed before the Court increased rapidly during the last Financial Year despite the Covid-19 pandemic from 60 in the FY 2019/2020 to 78 in the current financial year.
He disclosed that the Court’s priority interventions in the FY2021/2022 would be; to increase the number of cases concluded at the earliest possible time; enhance the skills of judges and staff for delivery of justice; conduct sensitization and awareness programmes in the Partner States; and enhance collaborations with other regional and international Courts.
The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of EAC, Kenya, Ken Obura, holds the briefcase containing the 2021/2022 budget speech as he heads to the East African Legislative Assembly Chambers in Arusha, Tanzania.