The Prime Minister Dr. Édouard Ngirente has addressed the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the fifth East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) where he commended the progress made integrating the East African Community (EAC) and tasked legislators to do more.
The PM was today November 29, 2023 addressing a special sitting of the regional legislative meeting on behalf of President Paul Kagame.
The EALA sitting is currently taking place in Kigali at the Parliament building with member state chapter representatives attending in person and virtually (for DRC) to deliberate on key bills aimed at enhancing EAC integration.
For example, Ngirente sighted the examples of the implementation of the Single Customs Territory under the Customs Union, the free movement of people under the Common Market, and the progress in implementing the Monetary Union Protocol.
“We note with satisfaction the substantial progress made in the implementation of Community Projects and Programmes. We also commend the legislative achievements this Assembly has made in enabling a stronger integration process,” Ngirente said.
The PM said that people of the EAC have high expectations for its governing bodies, especially in ensuring that the integration process brings positive and meaningful changes towards having a community that is functional, accountable and that puts available resources to optimal use for the benefit of all.
“Therefore, timely and effective implementation of EAC Projects and Programs is a priority. This will boost intra-EAC trade, competitiveness and ease of doing business across the region,” he stated.
Ngirente also used the opportunity to highlight and commend the community’s biggest achievement since the operationalization of the EAC Customs Union 18 years ago which show a significant increase in intra-EAC trade from $5.8 billion in 2013 to $10.9 billion in 2022.
Despite this progress, Ngirente said that outstanding Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) continue to raise the cost of doing business, which puts the region at a disadvantage while the budgetary and funding constraints, discussed recently at the 23rd EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, requires action to find sustainable financing mechanisms to offset this challenge.
In this regard, Ngirente tasked the Assembly, as the oversight organ of the Community, to take the lead in ensuring that EAC resources are utilized efficiently.