Monetary union talks near end

Wednesday July 3 2013

East African Community Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie speaks during a function to mark the third anniversary of common market protocol in Nairobi on Monday.

East African Community Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie speaks during a function to mark the third anniversary of common market protocol in Nairobi on Monday. PHOTO BY DIANA NGILA. 

By George Omondi

Monitor correspondent
Kampala

Ministers from the East African bloc have stepped up the search for a common currency and regional central bank even as concerns grow over the poor implementation of earlier stages of integration.

The Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Ms Phyllis Kandie, said yesterday that the region’s Council of Ministers would next month finalise talks on the monetary union protocol and hand it to heads of state for approval.

“The council of ministers is scheduled to meet in August to finalise the protocol with a target of having it ready for signing by the EAC heads of state in November 2013,” said Ms Kandie as Kenya marked the third anniversary of the common market protocol.

However, experts, including International Monetary Fund, have warned the East Africa’s monetary union could fail due to weaker implementation of the earlier stages of integration.

The monetary union can only be built on free movement of goods and free exchange of factors of production, economists say. “We haven’t seen a full Custom Union since implementation started eight years ago,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO Betty Maina.

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