President Nkurunziza was emphatic that a time had come to fully embrace the philosophy of 'One People, One Destiny' so that the integration agenda becomes fully realized. He called on EALA Members to come up with bankable resolutions that make a difference to the People of the region.
The President noted that the Monetary Union Protocol was on the verge of been signed at the next Summit and further called on the Partner States to accelerate realization of the Political Federation.
"I do believe that we can accelerate the Political Federation to which the Burundian population and those from other Partner States have overwhelmingly responded positively to", President Nkurunziza remarked.
The Head of State called for the full and speedy implementation of the Common Market Protocol to enable citizens to enjoy the mutual benefits. " We should also ensure the best practices of the Partner States are shared", he said, noting that Burundi had carried a wide sensitization programme in the entire country.
The President remarked that Burundi was honoured to host EALA once again, noting that - it provided an opportunity for citizens to closely follow up and comprehend on the activities of EALA.
"I want to commend EALA for the decision to rotate the plenaries to enable citizens become more aware of the mandate of the Assembly", he remarked.
The President hailed the EALA Members for the Community Initiative carried out in Cibitoke District when EALA visited Burundi last year. "The people of Cibitoke have sent me back to request you to visit the stadium which is on the verge of completion. I welcome you for a football time at an appropriate time" he said.
In her welcome remarks, the Speaker of the EALA, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa noted that the Assembly was taking place at an irreversible time in the regional integration process. She noted the envisaged entry of the Monetary Union as key in the integration process.
"We are pleased that the Summit shall be signing the Monetary Union, the third tier in the process. The people of East Africa have patiently waited. We remain confident that after years and months of complex negotiations and board room trade-ins, the people of East Africa look forward to a single currency", the Speaker remarked.
The Speaker urged Partner States to review their domestic laws to conform to the commitments and undertakings made in the Common Market Protocol.
"We need to deliver on the promises we made to citizens including the machine readable cards, mobility of workers and harmonization of benefits", Speaker Zziwa added. She hailed the Partner States for rolling out the National Implementation Committee in respect to a directive from the EAC Council of Ministers.
The Speaker further noted that the Customs Union had led to significant increase in intra-regional trade. In 2011, intra-regional trade rose by 23% of the total values of exports according to the World Banks' Doing Business Report of 2012.
Rt. Hon Zziwa shared the scorecard of EALA so far to an attentive audience. She cited, inter-alia, the passage of 4 key Bills (One Stop Border Post Bill, 2012, EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill, 2012, EAC Appropriation Bill, 2012 and the EAC Public Holidays Bill, 2013), 5 Reports and 8 Resolutions - all key to integration dispensation.
The Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt. Hon Pie Ntavyohanyuma underscored the need to address cross border crime and terrorism. "It is important for stakeholders to work together collectively to stem terrorism", he remarked, while commiserating with the Republic of Kenya following the attack on the Nairobi Westgate Mall.
Rt. Hon Ntavyohanyuma called for closer collaboration between the EALA and the Burundi National Assembly in line with Article 49 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
Moving the vote of thanks, Hon Dan Kidega noted that Burundi had progressed following the leadership of President Nkurunziza. President Nkurunziza is not only a leader par excellence, but a mediator who has brought Burundi from the precipice of war to a united country.
He said Burundi had a gallant army that was now serving in Somalia, Chad, Haiti and soon, Mali. The EALA Member further hailed the health care system which he noted provided free medical healthcare to expectant mothers.
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