President Yoweri Museveni addresses a previous EALA session sitting in Kampala, Uganda. Seated right is the EALA Speaker Rt. Hon. Dan Fred Kidega.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni says the region is committed to full regional integration and wants the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) to sensitize citizens on the benefits.

Meeting the EALA Speaker Dan Fred Kidega at State House Entebbe last night, Museveni said the EAC would arrive at the political federation as the ultimate pillar of integration.

In his submissions the Speaker urged President Museveni to enhance efforts to ensure stability and normalcy resumes in Burundi, and gave a detailed account of EALA’s involvement in seeking for solutions in troubled East African country.

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“I and the Assembly request you to intensively focus on Burundi to restore normalcy,” Speaker Kidega implored Mr Museveni, who is also the mediator of the Burundi peace process.

The Speaker also told Mr Museveni that EALA was demanding for an independent inquiry into the death of former EALA member Hafsa Mossi, who was killed in Bujumbura on July 13, 2016.

On South Sudan, the Speaker sounded the Assembly’s concern over recent developments, while affirming that resolving challenges in the sister Partner States was part and parcel of enhancing the spirit of integration.

On the precarious funding situation at the EAC, Rt Hon Kidega said it was now time for the bloc to embrace sustainability mechanisms as a key survival strategy.

“The Summit has agreed in principle that EAC adopts an alternative funding strategy and that such be pursued to ensure sustainability.  The Council of Ministers is reviewing the options – but the pace is indeed slow. Excellency, we plead that the matter be fast tracked”, Rt Hon Kidega said.

At its meeting in Arusha last week, the EAC’s Finance and Administration Committee urged Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania to settle their arrears and the instalments of the contribution for the current financial year to ease the liquidity challenges.

The Speaker further urged the region to review its stance on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) given the recent developments in global trade.

“Excellency, the region is seized of the matter of the EPAs given a number of recent developments.  The main one concerns the Brexit and its implications which we as a region need to take cognisance of.  The other concerns the decision by the EU to embargo/blockade the Republic of Burundi from enjoying the benefits of trade.  EALA has enacted Trade Negotiations Act, 2008 that among other things calls for joint negotiations of Treaties that are of benefit to the bloc”, the Speaker said.  

He remarked that the region would be unable to favourably compete if the subsidies on Agriculture on EU products.

As part of ensuring investor confidence in the region, the Speaker informed President Museveni that EALA was keen on enacting legislation that safeguards interests of investors and provides for compensation in event of damage.  On the other hand, such a law should ensure safeguard of local content in terms of use of materials, manpower and technology transfer among other areas.

Responding to the Speaker’s submissions on regional economic development, President Museveni said the EAC region was on verge of economic take-off and that a breakthrough would be realised by extending exports and diversification of products beyond the EU markets.