From March 2 -3, Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community (EAC) Affairs convened the 2nd Strategic Meeting of Permanent Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, in partnership with the Hub. The objective: formulate a region-wide strategy to accelerate implementation of the Common Market Protocol (CMP). The strategy will ensure that all EAC Partner states have access to: 1) timely legal and regulatory updates for regulators and relevant ministries; 2) concise reform memoranda on the specific adjustments required to effect a reform; and 3) expert advice for national implementation committees to help address priority reform issues.
Forty-three participants attended the workshop, including Permanent Secretaries and key representatives from the five EAC Partner States. During its presentation, the Hub provided an update on the status of CMP implementation and highlighted bills that are currently under consideration by MPs that are inconsistent to the EAC CMP. The Hub also provided several recommendations with emphasis on the need to affect a “Common Market Test” for legislation that is presented to the region’s national assemblies, before they are debated and promulgated.
The PSs and Secretary General noted with appreciation the initiatives undertaken by the Hub and recommended the following to Partner States:
- Ensure that all new national laws/regulations are CMP compliant
- Develop an implementation test to track CMP compliance of new bills and draft regulations
- Develop transparent notifications and awareness systems in line with WTO standards
- Set up institutional frameworks at national and regional levels to ensure compliance with the procedure and mechanisms for strengthening of communication in support of the CMP
Meeting participants cited several other key challenges to implementation of the CMP and discussed recommendations for the same. Recommendations discussed will be tabled for consideration at the next convenient meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.
The Hub’s partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs and SEATINI (a leading trade policy think tank) has led to reform proposals in the country’s Investment Code, which have been forwarded for Cabinet’s adoption. The Ministry has also embarked on a partnership with the Hub to regularly disseminate Hub findings on the latest common market regulatory developments, and to use its convening authority to request regulators and other departments to implement suggested reforms contained in those updates (see the latest Uganda Dissemination Presentation here). The Hub has made several other reform proposals in partnership with its grantees that if adopted will improve the legal and regulatory environment for trade and investment in the region, through supporting implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol provisions on the movement of goods, services and capital.