Minister wants legislation to guard EAC gains

By Luke Anami

The Ministry of East African Community (EAC) wants the Attorney General to include 27 legislations identified as a hindrance to the operations of the EAC Common Market.

“It is now two years since the common market came into existence yet the laws that Kenya needs to review have not been rectified. I will be presenting to the Attorney General this week the amended laws so that they can be included in the miscellaneous Bill,” Musa Sirma, EAC minister said.

Laws to be amended included immigration and employment Acts to allow smooth flow of residents and goods in the region.

“Though we have waived work permit with Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi are yet to do so,” said Sirma at a workshop in Nairobi. Other laws in question that need to be aligned with the EAC Common Market Protocol include the registration of persons Act, foreign investment, protection Act and the Local Government Act.

The amendments are expected to increase transparency and reduce discrimination, two principles which are integral to the objectives of the EAC Common Market Protocol. Sirma said the biggest challenge remains Non-Tariff Barriers that continue to hinder the full realisation of both the Customs Union and the Common Market. “Not all countries have managed to eliminate NTBs. Roadblocks, axle load issues and emerging NTBS are daily occurrences. They remain our biggest challenge.”

 EAC Director Political Affairs David Njoka said the gains made by Kenya economically due to the  Common Market are enormous and need to be safeguarded.

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