The Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Rt. Hon Majaliwa, Kassim Majaliwa and the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Daniel Fred Kidega confer
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Trade between the five members of the East African Community has risen from US$2 billion in 2005 to US6 billion in 2014, the Tanzanian Prime Minister has said.

“Trade is now at 23%, over and above intra-African Trade figure of 12%.  There has been a 300% increase in the value of trade from 2 billion USD in 2005 to 6 billion USD in 2014,” Rt Hon Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa said.

Mr Majaliwa, who represented President John Joseph Pombe Magufuli, who is also the Chair of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, was delivering the State of EAC address at the commencement of the 5th Meeting of the 4th Session of the 3rd Assembly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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The PM said the remarks gave a score-card on a number of areas related to the pillars of integration including the Customs Union, Intra EAC trade; Infrastructure and the Common Market.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon Daniel Kidega addresses the Plenary in Dar es Salaam
The Speaker, Rt. Hon Daniel Kidega addresses the Plenary in Dar es Salaam

 

Rt Hon Majaliwa said that the Community had adopted the use of One Stop Business Posts (OSBPs) as a trade facilitation concept to minimize delays at the border posts and on the major corridors in the region.  He informed the House that out of the 15 borders earmarked to operate as OSBPs, seven had been completed and 4 others were operating as OSBPs using bilateral agreements.

The seven are Gasenyi/Nemba, Ruhwa, Lunga Lunga/HoroHoro, Holili/Taveta, ISebania/Sirari, Kagitumba/Mirama Hills and Rusumo, the PM said and added intra EAC Trade was expected to register phenomenal increase in the next few years.

Rt. Hon Majaliwa also hailed the East African Business Council (EABC) for signing commitments to the ethical business standards to guide collaboration between various stakeholders in promoting trade.

He urged the region to push for total removal of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

On Infrastructure, the Prime Minister remarked that Partner States were actively engaged in the Standard Gauge Railway with Kenya having completed coverage of about 200km out of 472 km of formation as of September last year.

On the Common Market, the Prime Minister gave an account of achievements realized in the Partner States to date and noted that Republic of Burundi now recognizes the academic qualifications, experiences obtained, licenses and certifications obtained for the workers from other EAC Partner States.

Tanzania, he said, has issued a total of 3,222 simplified Certificates of Origin as at June 2015 as compared to 2,355 certificates issued in 2014. In Kenya, the Prime Minister said development of an SMS based NTBs Reporting System to facilitate reporting and subsequent elimination of NTBs had been initiated

Rwanda, the Prime Minister added, had eliminated all Non-Tariff Barriers and further harmonized demographic and social statistics for undertaking agricultural surveys and census.  All the initiatives he added, were geared towards enhancing the Common Market Protocol. In Uganda, the value of goods from other Partner States accorded zero-tariff treatment grew by 9% while 360 EAC standards on traded goods had been adopted and were in application, Mr Majaliwa said.

 

He however lamented that the region continued to face challenges, citing delay of issuance of electronic Certificate of Origin which were yet to be adopted regionally, and the need to fast-track the completion of the Annex on Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications.

The Prime Minister also lauded the Speaker for EALA’s continued role in legislation, oversight and representation and urged the Assembly to double its efforts in sensitization of the publics.

 

In his welcoming remarks, the Speaker of the EALA, Rt Hon Daniel F Kidega remarked that EAC integration process was stronger given the commitment of various stakeholders in the process.

 

He however urged the EAC to instil quick interventions with regards to the Common Market Protocol, and added that there was need to ensure free movement of persons as well as the rights to residence.

The Speaker also hailed Tanzania for its commitment to harmonising work and resident permits as well as the necessary fees in line with providing preferential treatment to the citizens of the EAC Partner States.  He remarked that the Republics of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda had already abolished work permit fees and introduced inter-state passes and that the move encouraged workers to move freely in search of opportunities.

 

Rt. Hon Kidega hailed the Summit of the EAC Heads of State for the significant announcements made at the 17th Summit of the EAC Heads of State held last week in Arusha, Tanzania, and welcomed the entry of South Sudan to the EAC fold, adding that EALA looked forward to welcoming the new member’s legislators.

 

The EALA Speaker also lauded the Heads of State for launching the EAC International E-Passport. On his part the Speaker of Parliament of Tanzania Rt Hon Job Ndugai, also said the region was looking forward to inclusion of the new Legislators from South Sudan.