PRESS STATEMENT ON THE EAC SINGLE CUSTOMS TERRITORY AND MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS

Entry Date Sep 29 2018 // News

Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, OGW, Chairman EABC briefed the media on the successes and challenges of the EAC Single Customs Territory and Mutual Recognition Agreements on professionals services in the EAC.
In his remarks, the Chairman elaborated that the East African Business Council has been taking a lead to advocate for liberalization of professional services across EAC borders. EABC brought key players in the business community together, to share insights, which were instrumental in the formulation of the Mutual Recognition Agreements for Accountants, Architects, Engineers, and Veterinaries.

“The Mutual Recognition Agreements have been facilitating the mobility of skills and professionals in the EAC region,” said Mr. Nesbitt.
He further mentioned challenges on Mutual Recognition Agreements in the EAC such as some Partner States have not liberalized some services sectors under the MRAs while others lack regulatory authorities to facilitate implementation of the MRAs.

“Tanzania has not liberalized the architectural and veterinary services while Kenya has not liberalized the veterinary services,” said Mr. Nesbitt.

He urged for the EAC Partner States to adopt the Regulatory Framework for MRAs as provided under Annex VII of Common Market Protocol in order to make the signed MRAs legally binding. He further recommended for:
• EAC Partner States to finalize and sign all pending MRAs;
• EAC Partner States to liberalize all professional services where MRAs have been negotiated;
• EAC Partner States to finalize and adopt Regulations on Movement of Services and Services Suppliers;
• EAC Partner States to establish Regional Internship programs to encourage mobility of young professionals; and
• Regional intra- and inter-professional platforms be established for implementation of MRAs.

“The benefits of the Single Customs Territory are already being witnessed by both the public and the private sectors in the region. With the Single Customs Territory regional customer-centric procedures have been put in place eliminating duplications and reducing the cost of doing business,” Mr. Nesbitt elaborated some successes of the EAC Single Customs Territory.

According to Mr. Nesbitt among other milestones achieved under the EAC Single Customs Territory, which have eased and reduced the cost of doing business in the EAC include:
• Regional bond which has eliminated the dependence on multiple national bonds;
• Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking (ECT) which has secures transfer and transit goods in the Republics of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda; and
• Real time sharing of Customs information upon arrival of goods at the port has lessened internal border controls;
• All ports operate 24/7. This allows the importer/transporter to use the shortest time possible to clear and move goods from the point of entry to the destination Partner State.

“The turnaround time from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam to Kampala, Kigali or Bujumbura has been reduced from over 18 days to an average of 4 days,” said Mr. Nesbitt.
He urged for the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Burundi to join Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking (RECTS) noting that reduction in human intervention through use of electronic systems can lead to improved efficiency, reduced delays and malpractices in clearances of cargo.

To augment trade in the region he urged for the EAC Partner States to:
• Simplify and harmonize documents for import and export and
• EAC Partner States to expeditiously harmonize domestic taxes (VAT, Excise, and Income Taxes) to facilitate easy and free circulation of goods in the EAC.

As the Chairman of the EABC, he reiterate his promise to steer the regional body to greater heights through investing in policy, research, advocacy, technology and capacity building. He further emphasized on the importance of a collective voice to advocate for a regional agenda to ensure a clear growth path for the EAC region.

EABC EAC GiZ Media Tour
The EABC in collaboration with the East African Community (EAC) and GIZ is undertaking a media tour to record and publicize the achievements realized in the Single Customs Territory, Mutual Recognition Agreements and Pharmaceutical Sector in the Partner States. The tour kicked off on 24th September at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania and will continue until 6th October 2018 in the EAC Partner States.

 

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