6 September 2017

East Africa: EAC Tells South Sudan to Comply With Treaty

Photo: Wambi Michael/IPS
Ugandan vehicles loaded with goods to take to Juba and other Southern Sudan towns (file photo).

South Sudan has been directed to waive visa requirements for all the East African Community partners and offer a duty-free market for all the goods originating from the EAC states.

The EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning, during their meeting in Arusha between August 20 and 25, said that for South Sudan to fulfil its ascension for the Community, it is expected to meet the compulsory integration requirements of the Treaty.

This means that South Sudan has to align its Customs administration with the EAC Customs Union.

Juba will have to introduce zero duty on goods and services to the other partner states and implement the EAC Common External Tariff, where imports from countries outside the region are subjected to the same tariff when sold to any partner state.

Rules of origin

Also, goods moving freely within the region must comply with the EAC Rules of Origin and with provisions of the Protocol for the establishment of the region's Customs Union.

The oil rich nation was also directed to make its contribution to the EAC budget and establish requisite institutions like a revenue authority.

"It is also a requirement to actively participate in all policy meetings of the EAC to enable decision-making, which is based on consensus by the partner states," said the Sectoral Council in its report.

South Sudan became the sixth member of the EAC after signing an Ascension Treaty last year at the Heads of State Summit in Dar es Salaam.

It is expected to pay $6,715,064 for the 2016/2017 financial year in arrears and $8.37 million towards the 2017/2018 EAC budget like other partner states.

However, the Sectoral Council noted that Juba has made progress on the roadmap to joining the Community.

"South Sudan has committed to providing a sub registry in Juba for filing of cases of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ)," noted the report, adding that South Sudan has also undertaken capacity building for its officials that will be participating in the EAC activities.

A roadmap on the integration of South Sudan into the Sectoral programmes has been developed.

A commissioner to the Adhoc Public Service Commission was appointed and took oath of allegiance and secrecy.

Although South Sudan had requested to appoint a commissioner to the EAC Competition Authority as the other partner states have done, the Sectoral Council indicated that the move requires amendments to the Treaty and the regulations establishing those bodies. It was noted for urgency to undertake the amendments in order to have South Sudan become a member of the all EAC bodies.

The EAC Council of Ministers agreed last week that Juba should first join the East African Legislative Assembly and the East Africa Court of Justice.

South Sudan has already nominated its nine members to EALA and submitted its list to the EAC Secretariat and a judge to the First Instance Division of EACJ.

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