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Conflicting local laws hampering execution of EAC protocol - official

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Country director for Trade Mark East Africa Allen Asiimwe (L) shakes hands with East African Community Affairs minister Shem Bageine yesterday in Kampala. PHOTO BY Stephen Otage 

By Stephen Otage

Posted  Thursday, March 6  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Obstracting. Regulations proving restrictive and protective.

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Kampala.

The different legal regimes in East African Community member states are a new restriction to the implementation of the East African Community treaty and protocol.
According to Ms Allen Asiimwe, the Uganda country director Trade Mark East Africa, despite the elimination of non-tariff barriers previously thought to be the problem, conflict among the laws governing professional associations and services in member states is a new obstacle to the implementation of the treaty and protocol.

Restrictive laws
While addressing officials at a breakfast meeting about the integration process in Kampala yesterday, Ms Asiimwe observed that despite recent developments such as the introduction of EAC single tourist visa last month and the single customs territory last year, the integration process in East Africa is still finding challenges because of the laws governing professional associations and services.
She said such laws are proving restrictive and protective rather than facilitating the smooth coordination of the integration process.

According to Mr Shem Bageine, the State Minister for East African Community Affairs, the member states have been tasked to identify such laws for amendment and those found to impact the integration negatively abolished but lack of technical staff to handle standards is another constraint the community is facing. “The East African Legislative Assembly passed a law on standardisation of the laws but we do not have the technical staff to man the borders and ensure that standards are adhered to,” he said.

On whether the laws to be amended will not lead to the restructuring of the national constitutions individual member states, Mr Bageine said they will be amended in a progressive way which will ensure that the national constitutions are not tampered with.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com