19 June 2017

East Africa: Liberalise Key Sectors in Region, Says EABC

Arusha — The East African Business Council (EABC) wants speeded liberalisation of seven agreed services to enhance regional economic integration.

It has recommended to the East African Community (EAC) partner states that the business, distribution, education, finance, communication, tourism and travel and transport be fully liberalised.

The apex body of private sector organisations in the region has also called on the partner states in the bloc to initiate new negotiations to liberalise the remaining five services sectors.

These are construction and related services, environment, health and social services, recreational, culture and sporting services and others.

They made the recommendations during their 18th annual general meeting held in Kampala, Uganda last week.

They requested Uganda, which is the current chair of the EAC Summit of Heads of State, to champion the harmonisation of domestic taxes in the EAC region, saying they are a burden to regional trade.

On illicit trade, members of the business body called on the EAC partner states to expedite the process to enact the EAC Anti-Counterfeit Bill, 2013 in order to have a law to fight counterfeiting.

EABC once again decried that some partner states in the bloc were yet to ratify legally binding enforcement mechanism to facilitate quick removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and reinstate necessary actions to bolster intra-regional trade.

"EAC Regulations on EAC Elimination of NTBs should provide Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism and provide clear time frames for elimination of NTBs", the Arusha-based body said in a statement availed to The Citizen.

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