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EAC national laws review going on`

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by Rutashubanyuma, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Dec 27, 2010
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    EAC national laws review going on`

    By Lusekelo Philemon

    27th December 2010

    National law reviews as part of the implementation of the East Africa Community Common Market Protocol are ongoing in the Partner States, the chairperson of the East Africa Community Council of Ministers, Hafsa Mossi, has said.
    Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) had, during its ongoing 2nd meeting of the 4th session in the Chambers of the Parliament of Uganda, queried the slow process of approximating and harmonising laws, policies and systems in the Partner States to support the operation of the Common Market launched on July 1, this year.
    Led by Rwandan Jacqueline Muhongayire, EALA members tasked the chairperson of the Council of Ministers to explain about the current status of the approximation and harmonisation of laws to conform to the launched EAC Common Market Protocol in line with Article 47 of the same Protocol which obliges Partner States to approximate their national laws and harmonise their policies and systems for the purposes of implementing the Protocol.
    The MPs contend that the EAC Common Market will thrive in a regime of approximated and harmonised policies, laws and systems but noted that the pace of harmonisation processes in education, internal taxes and cross border systems, among others, was inadequate.
    Mossi said on account of unforeseen logistical problems, progress in all the Partner States had not been as fast as anticipated but reported progress made in Kenya, where a task force on review of domestic laws report had been submitted to the Attorney General for further action and in Tanzania and Uganda the task forces were at advanced stages of review and consultation.
    The chairperson of the Council further informed the House that priority had been put on harmonisation of Partner States’ commercial laws that related to the implementation of the Protocol and that the Common Market Protocol was to be implemented progressively.
    The House learnt that the EAC Secretariat had commissioned a study aimed at identifying and reviewing the commercial laws in the Partner States that had direct impacts on the EAC Common Market and drafting of necessary EAC legislation in the identified priority areas to be enacted by East African Legislative Assembly was ongoing.
    Furthermore, a study on the harmonisation of laws governing excise, VAT and income taxes in the region was ongoing.
    Mossi also pledged to table a list of the identified laws that needed to be approximated and/or harmonised at the next sitting of EALA along with a mechanism to help the Community deliberate on those laws to be approximated or harmonised.
    Contributing to the debate on the approximation and harmonisation of laws recently, the Counsel to the Community (CTC), Wilbert Kaahwa, affirmed that Article 8 (4) of the Treaty accords precedence to the Community laws and the Article accorded such laws precedence over similar national laws in matters pertaining to the Community and the integration process and the programmes and projects of the Community.
    “The ultimate aim is to have a regional law like we have the Customs Management Act on matters relating to the implementation of freedoms and rights created by the Common Market Protocol,” said Kaahwa.
    According to Kaahwa, the provision that gives force to the Partner States’national laws is supposed to serve a transitional period before they harmonize their laws and give a basis for a common regional law on the implementation of the Common Market.
    The CTC also pointed out that portability of workers benefits across region was one area where a Bill would be presented even before the question of approximation and harmonization was concluded.