EAC governments blamed for slow policy execution
Posted Tuesday, March 5 2013 at 02:00
According to Mr Sezibera, EAC governments have been slow to implement agreed upon policies.
The EAC secretary general, Richard Sezibera last week told a meeting of manufacturers in Kampala that regional governments are the ones to blame for failing to institute structures that could ease investment in the five member states.
The blame, he said, should not be put on the secretariat as a number of channels have been devised but have not been implemented by the regional governments. “We all acknowledge that we must remove non-tariff barriers, improve infrastructure as well as encourage import substitution, but why isn’t this implemented?” he said. He added that EAC member states must reconcile their long term visions within EAC’s long term strategies which seek to develop the region.
However, he said regional governments have failed to implement agreed upon strategies as discussed by the EAC secretariat. “It is clear that we must invest in industrialisation if we want integration to succeed. We must stop talking about it and start doing it,” said Mr Sezibera
He added that integration would remain an illusion as long as member governments fail to implement agreed upon commitments.
Members of the five East African states continue to face challenges especially in the movement of goods and services contrary to the EAC deliberations and targets. The Uganda Manufacturers’ Association chairman, Kaddu Kiberu in his remarks said manufacturers and the entire private sector continue to grapple with poor infrastructure due to lack of implementation of commitments. “We have spoken about NTBs for years but nothing has happened. And we will continue to talk about them until such a time when EAC governments see some reason to implement them.”
However, Mr David Wakikona, the state minister for Trade said the government was doing whatever is possible with a target of achieving the aims of the EAC. He said: “…Ofcourse government cannot do enough but it is doing something and we are growing.” Infrastructure development is another area that he said government is committed to not just internally but regionally as well.
Meanwhile Prof Samuel Ssejaka of Makerere University Business School, said in a presentation that EAC member states must invest in agriculture due to the region’s comparative advantage. He said the EAC has the ability to fetch more revenue from agribusiness related investments - including positioning itself as the food basket of Africa. He added that the private sector must not let politicians lead the integration process but work together as partners.