Arusha — Critical policies are to be harmonized to achieve a single currency for East Africa come 2024.
The process is already underway and will be followed by creation of requisite institutions to spearhead the drive.
"A single currency for the region by 2024 is outlined in the Monetary Union Protocol," said the East African Community (EAC) secretary general Liberat Mfumukeko on Monday.
He said in his New Year address to the EAC staff members bills already passed and assented were enough indications of a road map for the anticipated single currency. These, according to him, include the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) already assented by the EAC heads of state.
The institute 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.
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He said the EAC Council of Ministers, which is the policy organ of the Community, had finally approved the EAC Domestic Tax Harmonization Policy.
"Proper implementation of the policy would reduce tax competition thereby enhancing cross-border trade and investment in the region," he told the EAC workers at the Arusha headquarters.
On the Financial Sector, the SG said he 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 finalized regional regulations for portability of pension benefits and consumer protection," he added.
His speech during which he touched on plans to retrench some workers under the Institutional Review process, was relayed to other EAC employees working outside Arusha through video conferencing.
He said that Community would have in place an EAC Investment Helpdesk and a Buyer-Seller 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 the World Bank, had also operationalised an EAC Statistics Development and Harmonization Regional Project.
"The project will support production of quality and harmonized statistics in the region through capacity building in the National Statistical Offices of the Partner States," he explained
This, according to Amb. Mfumukeko will go alongside the establishment of the EAC Bureau of Statistics.