Republic of Uganda takes over Chairmanship of EAC from United Republic of Tanzania
East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 05 April 2017:
The Republic of Uganda has officially taken over from the United Republic of Tanzania as the new Chairperson of East African Community.
The Republic of Rwanda became the new rapporteur during the 35th Meeting of EAC Council of Ministers which concluded yesterday at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The tenure of office of the Chairperson of the EAC is one year and it is held on rotational basis among the Partner States as per Article 12 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
Speaking after taking over, the new Chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon. Dr Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, Uganda's Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs, said that the Council of Ministers meeting came at a time when there was growing demand by the East African citizens to see, touch and feel the tangible benefits of the regional integration especially following the launch of the Customs Union in 2005, the Common Market in 2010, and the Monetary Union in 2013.
"At this critical period, the Council’s contribution towards the regional integration process therefore cannot be overemphasized," Hon. Kivenjija. He urged EAC Partner States to enhance the visibility of the tangible benefits of the integration by implementing fully the Customs Union and Common Market protocols.
Hon. Kivejinja said that since the operationalization of the Customs Union and Common Market protocols, Partner States have not fully allowed the citizens to enjoy the anticipated benefits.
"Our people are still experiencing non-tariff barriers, harmonization of national laws to conform to the Protocols are still far, and popular participation in the integration process is still generally low in all the Partner States," said the Minister.
The new Chair of the Council also reminded members of the Council on the Summit directive to the Council to present a report on Alternative Financing Mechanism including the option of 1% of Imports from outside the Community in line with the Principle of Financial Solidarity and Equity. He urged the Ministers of Finance to finalize the proposal as soon as possible so that the Summit can be guided to this outstanding matter.
On his part, the outgoing Chair, Amb. Augustine Mahiga Tanzania's Minister for Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation, called upon the Organs and Institutions of the Community to refocus and re-engineer how to move forward the integration agenda.
"I urge them to refrain themselves from unnecessary expenditures which amount equally to wastage of tax payers money," said Amb Mahiga. Amb. Mahiga disclosed that there are inbuilt challenges in any regional integration schemes which need to be addressed as long as they are known.
“Generally what I can say during our tenure we came across plains, hills and valleys but all is well."
EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, congratulate the new Chair on his appointment and expressed confidence that the Republic of Uganda would steer the Council and the Community to greater heights during her tenure as Chair. "I pledge my total commitment and support to you."
The Secretary General also thanked Dr Enos Bukuku, the outgoing Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure for six years of dedicated service to the Community. Dr. Bukuku is from the United Republic of Tanzania. "A lot of achievements have been registered during his tenure, the most notable one being finalization of the negotiations for the Monetary Union," said Amb. Mfumukeko. Dr. Bukuku was appointed by the EAC Heads of State Summit in April 2011. According to the EAC Treaty, the Deputy Secretaries General shall each serve on a three year term, renewable once and shall deputise for the Secretary General. Dr. Bukuku will be concluding his tour of duty at the end of April 2017. The 35th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers was also attended by the Uganda First Lady, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, who is also the Ugandan Minister of Education.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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