Kenyans see more benefits from the expanded regional market (3)

17:24, July 01, 2010      

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The president, however, said the existence of work permit fee chargeable to EAC citizens seeking employment in the region is still a barrier to the enjoyment of the freedom of movement of workers.

He said Rwanda and Kenya have entered into a bilateral arrangement where they have mutually waived the fee for work permits for their citizens. "In this regard, I am directing the minister responsible for immigration to waive fees on work permits for all East African citizens to facilitate the EAC citizens seeking work in Kenya," he said.

He said it is imperative that such conflicting national laws and regulation that have not been harmonized, to be amended to conform with the new development so as to extend national treatment to all EAC citizens.

President Kibaki also directed the Attorney General to take measures to prepare a miscellaneous amendment Bill to table in parliament for consideration of conflicting national laws.

The East African Business Council has already started working on a raft of trade barriers in an effort of hastening full integration.

Regional local government agencies, revenue authorities, police forces, immigration offices and standards bureaus have already been singled out as offices frustrating regional trade.

Already member states have agreed on an implementation schedule of the Common Market but the business community has on several occasions raised concerns, arguing its effects are not being felt on the ground.

Traders in the region say East African member states are still in a system of unevenness with states moving at different speeds creating unlevelled trading ground.

Kenya Association of Manufactures Chairman Vimal Shah has in the past said although most countries are at an advanced stage of passing new laws for the enactment of the Protocol, there is a lot to be done to take care of other laws touching on customs and taxation. "We are not yet talking as one market and this is making us lose out to other markets," he said, adding that a Customs Union cannot function without the existence of common customs legislation.

Source: Xinhua
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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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