EAST African Community partner states are in the process of harmonising policies and putting in place the requisite institutions to attain a single currency for the region by 2024 as outlined in the EAC Monetary Union Protocol.
EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko said that the Bill for the establishment of the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) had already been assented to by the Summit of Heads of State, adding that the EAMI would later be transformed into the East African Central Bank that would issue the single currency.
"The establishment of this institute will help to provide impetus towards the formation of the East African Monetary Union, which is the third pillar of our integration," said Amb Mfumukeko.
He disclosed that the Council of Ministers had approved the EAC Domestic Tax Harmonisation Policy, adding that proper implementation of the policy would reduce tax competition thereby enhancing cross-border trade and investment in the region.
On the financial sector, the SG said that the Community had developed requisite legal instruments (Bills) for the insurance and microfinance sub-sector and strategies for implementation of financial education and insurance certification.
"Further, we implemented the financial market infrastructure for payment and settlement systems as well as finalised regional regulations for portability of pension benefits and consumer protection," he added.
He was giving his New Year's Address to the Staff of EAC Organs and Institutions spread across East Africa from the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
He said that the Community would have in place an EAC Investment Helpdesk and a BuyerSeller Online Platform by June 2020.
"Both facilities will increase intra-EAC trade by creating awareness and markets for products manufactured within the EAC region."
The Community, with US$ 20 million support spread over five years by the World Bank, had also operationalised an EAC Statistics Development and Harmonisation Regional Project.
"The project will support production of quality and harmonised statistics in the region through capacity building in the National Statistical Offices of the partner states and the EAC Secretariat as well as support the establishment of the EAC Bureau of Statistics," said Ambassador Mfumukeko.
On the East African Court of Justice, the SG disclosed that sub-registries opened in the partner states' capital cities had elevated the visibility of the court and reduced the costs of litigation and access to justice to the citizens of the community.