East Africa: Work Ethics a Minus in EAC Regional Intergration

Kampala — The poor work culture amongst a number of Ugandans may make the country not realize the benefits of the Common Market Protocol, a minister has said.

Shem Bageine, Uganda's State Minister for East African Community Affairs told journalists during the beginning of the East African Community Week (November 1 -7, 2012) in Kampala that Uganda's laxity towards work could work against them when free movement of labor across the region takes off.

"I am particularly worried about the culture of our people towards work. We do not seem to take work seriously may be it is because of our background where most of us have a piece of land somewhere, or can access almost free food.

I am afraid with free liberalization and freeing of labor movement we could end up being over taken by other people from the partner states," Bageine said.

He added the private sector will operate on the principle of making profits and will only employ people that think will deliver.

Bageine said, "Already in a number of industries, a number of Kenyans are in charge, not because we don't have interest as Ugandans, but because our work culture is not strong.

"We don't seem to realize the need to increase on how we deliver services. Because opening up of the community, liberalization of movement of labor means that I will not look at you as a Ugandan, but I'll look at you as a potential employee who can deliver."

The Common Market Protocol that was signed on July 1, 2010 provided for; the free movement of labor, services, goods and capital with the objective of significantly boosting trade and investments as well as providing for the right of establishment and right of residence.

Al Hajj Rashid Kibowa, the Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of East African Community Affairs also says that they have seen a number of members from other partner states conducting business here and yet it wasn't the case with Ugandans in other partner states.

"We have seen many people from the other partner states especially Kenya coming to offer services and getting employed in our community especially in the petroleum industry, telecommunication industry, and retail trading. Ugandans however are moving to the other partner states to take up employment. " he said.

"I would prefer to call them challenges other than frustrations because we have not yet reached the frustration point.

"The issue of the development of infrastructure; of course we have some physical infrastructure as a region but we would like to see a well functioning, fast and cheap railway line connecting the hinterland to the sea.

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