The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has called for the commencement of a process of uniformly abolishing work and residence permit fees.
Yesterday, the Assembly debated and adopted the Report of the Committee on General Purpose on the petition to EALA regarding work/residence permits in the EAC for the citizens of the Partner States.
The petition was presented to the EALA Speaker Rt Hon Daniel Fred Kidega by the East African Trade Union Confederation and the East African Employers Association in March 2015.
The EATUC/EAEO has made 17 prayers in their request including the harmonization of the standards and processes of acquiring permits as well as the future amendment of Annex 2 of the Common Market Protocol to review the roadmap for free movement of workers given the fact that the current one ended in 2015.
Furthermore, the petitioners want the new revised annex to put in place a tripartite mechanism (Employers, Trade Unions and Government) at the EAC level to be administered at national level through the tripartite fora. The petitioners also want the standardization of the process of the work permits and the eventual removal of the permits.
EAEO with a potential outreach of over 8500 companies and business entities has also 100 associations and affiliates while the EATUC represents more than 2.5 million workers organised in unions affiliated to the national trade union centres, the regional apex bodies for employers’ organisations and national trade union centres across the EAC
Members who have contributed to the debate include Susan Nakawuki, Chris Opoka and Dora Byamukama (Uganda), Martin Ngoga, James Ndahiro and Christophe Bazivamo (Rwanda); and Hassan Mwinyi (Tanzania).
And presenting the report, Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, Chair of the Committee noted that a number of areas of co-operation and implementation of the Common Market Protocol remain in the remit of individual Partner States and called for advocacy to enable harmonization at the regional level.
The report was supported by among others Hon Valerie Nyirahabineza, Hon Peter Mathuki, Hon Bernard Mulengani and Hon Nancy Abisai.
The Minister for EAC, Uganda, Shem Bageine said the Council was committed to addressing all outstanding issues with regards to the Common Market Protocol and said Partner States had identified laws in the Partner States which need to comply to the EAC Laws. Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Social Benefits and EAC Affairs, Republic of Kenya said her country was committed to fully implementing the Protocol and similar sentiments were shared by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Hon Dr. Susan Kolimba of Tanzania.