One of the key focus areas of the Hub's policy work is supporting the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol. Through the protocol, EAC Partner States have committed to liberalize the movement of goods, services and capital, in addition to other factors of production, thus enhancing trade and investment in an increasingly competitive region.
The Hub is working with the region's private sector to accelerate implementation of the protocol. This advocacy partnership is strengthened by the Hub's network of legal practitioners who regularly conduct legal assessments to assess acts of parliament, bills and draft regulations that may have measures that operate against the EAC Common Market Protocol. These updates are shared with private sector in order to strengthen the advocacy process in support of a conducive trade and investment environment in the EAC. Key instruments currently under focus include The Companies Act (that requires mandatory 30% share holding for foreign companies to be held by Kenyans by birth) and the ICT Practitioners Bill (that requires onerous licensing requirements to practice in ICT-related businesses or professions).
Left: Seated: Hon. Florence Kajuju, MP, Chair, Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Regional Integration, Hon. David Ochieng, MP, Member, PSC on Regional Integration. Standing - Ms. Agatha Juma, Head of Public-Private Dialogue, KEPSA and Mr. Alfred K’Ombudo Common Market Implementation Coordinator at the Hub.
Right (from right to left): Hon. Adan Duale, Parliament Leader of Majority, Hon. Justin Muturi, Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Bundi, Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, Board Member, KEPSA.
On October 14, the Hub co-supported the Kenya National Assembly's Speakers Round-table themed 'Securing Kenya's competitiveness through an enabling legislative framework'. The event, convened by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) brought together the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leaders of Majority and Minority, Chairs and Members of key private-sector facilitating committees in parliament, MPs and representatives of the private sector. It reviewed key legislative activity within parliament and made recommendations to MPs on amendments that may be required to safeguard the quality of the business environment.
The Hub presented its recent analysis of key bills before parliament in relation to the common market and appraised the legislators on the potential impact clauses in these bills could have relative to EAC economic integration. Among the proposals put forward by the Hub is the creation of a 'common market test' for every bill before it is debated on the floor of the house. A common market test determines whether a bill is compliant to the commitments Kenya has to the EAC Common Market Protocol as a basis for further debate. This would ensure that laws are made with consideration for the common market in mind. At this meeting, Hub representatives also met and consulted with chairs of various parliamentary committees and private sector representatives to discuss bills such as the Mining Bill and ICT Practitioner's Bill, both of which contain measures inconsistent to the protocol.
KEPSA is a valued partner of the Hub in our common market implementation work.