A two- day Parliamentarians Workshop on East African Community (EAC) protocols pending ratification, who were drawn from five parliamentary Departmental Committees ended up with far reaching recommendations on how pending protocols within EAC Partner states will be ratified.

The main objective of the workshop was to sensitize the Honourable members on the various EAC Protocols pending Ratification in Partner States. These protocols are:

  • EAC Protocol on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Measures
  • EAC protocol on ICT Measures
  • Amendment of the EAC Protocol on the EAC Customs Union
  • EAC Protocol on Peace and Security;
  • EAC Protocol on Cooperation in Defence

In his opening remarks, the Principal Secretary in the East African Affairs Commerce and Tourism Ministry Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed said, the ratification of the Protocols before you will further enhance the benefits by Kenyans, of the EAC integration by availing them an environment conducive to do business by enlarging the scope and freedoms of the business opportunities available to them.

The attainment of sustainable growth and development of the Partner States can only be realized through the promotion of a balanced and harmonious development of the Partner States, the strengthening and consolidation of the long standing political, economic, social, cultural and traditional ties and associations between the peoples of the Partner States so as to promote a people centered mutual development of these ties and associations; the promotion of peace, security, and stability within, and good neighborliness among, the Partner States.

So far three of these have been negotiated, signed and ratified.

Free Movement of Capital

  1. Review of Capital Markets Act, Cap 487, Insurance Amendment Act, 2014 and Competition Act No. 12 of 2010 to remove restrictions on the East Africans and improve the investment environment.
  1. Kenya has put in place Capital Markets (Future Exchanges Regulations, 2013 to ensure full liberalization of the Capital Account.

Free Movement of Persons

  1. The Immigration Act, Cap 172, the Alien Restriction Act, Cap 173 and the Citizenship Act Cap 170 were repealed and replaced with the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 which now conforms with the provisions of the Common Market Protocol.
  2. Manpower Survey was finalized and launched on 3 October 2014.

 

Right of Establishment

  1. The Establishment of Huduma Centres that enables access of essential government services under one roof. These services include search and registration of business names, single business permit and public procurement complaints and reviews amongst others.
  2. Launch of the E-Registration of businesses.
  1. Launch of E- Procurement to facilitate transparency and accountability in the procurement process and improve ease of doing business.
  2. Review of Capital Markets Act, Cap 487, Insurance Amendment Act, 2014 and Competition Act No. 12 of 2010 to remove restrictions on the East Africans and improve the investment environment.

In their presentations Col. Kombe from Defense Headquarters said the EAC Peace and Security Protocol has not been signed by Kenya due to Challenges in the implementation of the new constitution. However, there are joint Military exercises, peace and operations, counter-terrorism and Counter Piracy as ongoing programmes within the Partner States. What remains now is the Partner states to establish a framework of cooperation.

On protocol on ICT networks, Mr Eddyson Nyale from Interior Ministry said the private sector needs to be facilitated with reliable ICT interconnections so as to promote Kenyas Economy. He added, challenges facing telephone roaming charges within the partner states will be addressed fully by mid July this year.

Director of Political Affairs in the State Department of East African Affairs Mr. David Njoka said a policy document on Regional Integration is being finalized. A stakeholder’s forum will be held soon to polish the document.