On Wednesday, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of East African Community (MINEAC), ambassador George William Kayonga, briefed the media on the key decisions taken during the 10th extraordinary summit of Heads of States of the East African Community (EAC) that took place in Arusha on April 28.
The summit was attended by President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, current EAC chairman, President Paul Kagame, President Jakwaya Kikwete of Tanzania, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and first vice-President Thérence Sinunguruza of Burundi.
"Before the extraordinary summit, there was an ordinary Summit of the Council of Ministers that took place in Bujumbura on November 30, 2011," the Permanent Secretary in MINEAC said addressing the media.
"The extraordinary summit to discuss two main items: the process of full implementation of the single customs territory, and the verification process for the admission of the application of South Sudan to join the EAC," Kayonga explained.
The Summit adopted in principle the destination model of clearance of goods where assessment and collection of revenue is at the first point of entry into the EAC and revenues are remitted to the destination state. This is however the subject to the fulfillment of key preconditions to be developed by the high level task force. "The high level task force will be composed of members from partner states and their work is expected to start effective July 2012 and look at how best to implement the single customs territory," Kayonga said.
The Summit was also briefed for the verification process of the application of South Sudan. The Council has decided in its meetings that partner states will contribute 3 experts each and 3 experts from the secretariat. This team will by the end of June have prepared a report for consideration of the Council to be held in its meeting in August, when it will be determined whether the application should go to the second phase, which will be the negotiation phase for the application of South Sudan to be admitted to the EAC during the ordinary 14th summit to be held on November 30, 2012.
At the same time, the Heads of States expressed concern over the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and urged the two countries to return to the negotiation table.
The Heads of States also signed the EAC protocol on cooperation in defense that will be ratified in the same summit. Furthermore, the summit appointed Jesca Eriyo (Uganda) as new deputy secretary-general, replacing Beatrice Kiraso; and renewed the contract of Jean-Claude Nsengiyumva (Rwanda) as the deputy secretary-general charged with productive and social sectors.