The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: EAC Monetary Protocol On Course - Githae

FINANCE Minister Njeru Githae has said that the East African member states are going to meet the December 31 deadline for the signing of the monetary union protocol despite skepticism over the issue.

Githae said that out of the 100 articles on the monetary union, 85 have been agreed upon therefore, he said, he is optimistic that the deal will be signed by the set date.

"We are learning from mistakes of the eurozone and we have decided to come up with harmonisation of methodology for statistics such as inflation rate, interest rates and the penalties for the countries that do not comply," explained Githae on Friday.

"We have also agreed on the amount of budget deficit that is acceptable and countries that do not meet the set mark will also face penalties."

However, the minister cautioned that the signing of the protocol will not immediately result in change of currency to adopt one for all the member states but would rather give the road map to implementation of a single currency.

The monetary union was slated as the next step to regional intergration after the EAC Customs Union in 2005 and a Common Market in protocol signed in 2010.

The monetary integration was to help member states co-operate in economic and fiscal matters aimed at reducing the costs and risks of doing business across the boundaries.

When fully implemented and a single currency is later introduced as a result, the EAC partner states would achieve removal of the costs of having to transact in different currencies and the risk of adverse exchange rate movements for traders and travelers.

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