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EALA members tasked to promote integration pillars  

Burundi President who is the current Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of Summit, Evariste Ndayishimiye has challenged the member’s states to hasten efforts towards the realization of the pillars of the regional integration.

He asked members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to find time to sensitize stakeholders in the Private Sector and the Civil society bodies on the strides the regional bloc made so far towards achieving the pillars of integration.

President Ndayishimiye expressed fears that the visibility of key EAC protocols on the ground was wanting saying it was time member states promoted the full realization of a common Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and finally attain the envisaged Political Federation.

The Burindian head of state made the appeal when he presided over the opening session of the the 3rd meeting of the 1st Session of the 5th East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in the capital Bujumbura.

He at the same called on for full facilitation of the EALA activities to enable the elected regional representatives effectively play their oversight mandate and make sound recommendations to both the Council of Ministers and Secretary General.

He tasked the EAC Council of Ministers to look for adequate resources to fund committees of the Assembly in order to strengthen their oversight, outreach and sensitization activities.

This, President Ndayishimiye noted, would improve the visibility and better understanding of the Community and at the same time recommended that such initiatives should be done jointly with National Parliaments of partner States.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye during the opening session of 5th EALA meeting in Bujumbura

The Chairperson of the Summit also appealed to the Assembly to focus their strategies on the youth who constitute the largest part of the population and the driving force in regional economy adding that their empowerment was critical in stabilization of peace.

”there is no peace where there is no bread, we must invest in the youth by creating a bright future from now he stressed

During his address, President Ndayishimiye appreciated the role played by EALA in facilitating the integration process saying the assembly had a cardinal duty to further the community’s objectives.

He appealed to them to work together and address any factors that limit or hinder the development of the larger EAC internal market, in order to increase their stake in the global trade and economy.

 

The President lauded the monumental progress made by EALA in terms of representing the citizens, legislating, planning the EAC programs and budgets, providing oversight in many EAC activities as well as strengthening bonds between EALA and national parliaments.

He however observed that despite this tremendous progress, there was need for more commitment and and action for better integration, peace, stability and especially more focus on results based programs and management.

Among key important areas President Ndayishimiye said needed improvement to support the Summit programmes included initiatives on peace and security in DRC and ultimately in all partner states, adopting French and Kiswahili as the alternate official languages alongside the English language, movements of goods and services which lead to trade imbalances among partner states, cross border security, EAC infrastructure, Summit Communiques and  protection of EAC natural resources among other initiatives.

On his part, the speaker of the EALA, Joseph Ntakirutimana observed that the Assembly was grappling with issues that required the Amendment of the EAC Treaty, saying the 21st Summit of the EAC Heads of State adopted Kiswahili and French as official languages of the community but noted for it to become a reality, it called for the amendment of the EAC Treaty noting that the review of the Treaty was necessary in order to align the document with the growth and changes that have taken place.

During the plenary key business transacted by the Assembly included, EAC Supplementary and Appropriation Bill 2023, the EAC Standardization, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment Bill 2023 and various committee reports were also tabled, debated, adopted and passed.

By Perpetual Mwangi

 

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