By Julius Businge
The private sector is critical in implementing the East African Community Integration process, according to Uganda’s minister for East African Affairs, Shem Bageine.
Bageine who was addressing the members of the East African Business Council (EABC) at a recent retreat in Kampala, said member states are on course towards implementation of the integration but, he said, there are challenges hampering the smooth implementation-non-tariff barriers being one of them.
“The EAC integration process must be people and private sector centered,” he said, adding they [private sector] has opportunities in sectors like trade, manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, entertainment among others.”
He added that government has never been good when it comes to doing business. “What we can do as government is to partner with the private sector to do several projects or business,” Bageine said.
He said the EAC ministers had a meeting recently and deliberated on several issues. Key on the agenda was to find a lasting solution to non-tariff barriers which were bothering the business community.
He said they also discussed about the progress of the monetary union implementation by member states, which was signed at the end of 2013 among others. He revealed that member states are in the process of drafting the federal constitution which will pave way for political federation, the last protocol for the integration.
Member states already signed the Customs Union [in 2005] and the Common Market protocol [in 2010]. The two protocols deal with issues of easing taxation, harmonising taxes, easing movement of goods, persons, services and capital.
In general, they try to ease doing business within the community and promote other aspects of development like industrialisation, infrastructure development that are necessary to promote faster growth and economic development.