PUBLISHED ON March 13th, 2015

Bujumbura to host EALA sitting next week

ASMARA, Eritrea, 12 March 2015 / PRN Africa / — The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) resumes business next week by holding its Plenary in Bujumbura, Burundi. The Plenary which takes place from Monday, March 16, 2015, to Friday, March 27, 2015, is the Fifth Meeting of the Third Session of the Third Assembly.

The President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E. Pierre Nkurunziza is expected to address a Special Sitting on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015. The President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, is also expected to deliver the State of EAC Address on March 19th, 2015.

The State of EAC Address is delivered annually by the sitting Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State and it reflects on matters of policies related to the Community.

The Assembly is to be presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon Daniel F. Kidega. Top on the agenda during the two week period are key bills which are expected to be debated.

The Bills include the EAC Customs Management (Amendment) Bill, 2015 the EAC Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the EAC Cross Border Legal Practice Bill, 2014 and the EAC Electronic Transaction Bill, 2014.

The principal object of the EAC Customs Management (Amendment) Bill, 2015, is to amend the East African Customs Management Act, 2004, to facilitate the discharge of the functions of the Directorate of Customs and Trade as provided for in the Act and to facilitate smooth implementation of the Act, particularly on the procedures that facilitate the implementation of the EAC Single Customs Territory.

The EAC Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to amend the EAC Competition Act in order to establish a mechanism to eliminate counterfeiting and piracy trade in the Community. This is seen as crucial in providing impetus in order to promote industrialisation and economic growth. The Bill further anticipates to create a conducive investment climate in the Community, free of unfair competition practices embodied in counterfeiting and policies and to promote the creation of intellectual property rights in the Community.

The EAC Cross Border Legal Practice Bill, 2014 seeks to operationalise Article 76 of the Treaty providing for free movement of labour, goods, services capital and the rights to establishment. It also takes into cognizance the mutual recognition of the academic and professional qualifications.

The EAC Electronic Transactions Bill 2014 on its part, makes provision for the use, security facilitation and regulation of electronic communications and transactions to encourage the use or e-government service and to provide for related matters.

The House shall also receive and debate on a number of reports. They include that of the Accounts Committee on the EAC Audited Accounts for the Financial Year ended 30th June, 2013, the Report of the Committee on Communication, Trade and Investment on the EAC Single Customs Territory and the report of the General Purpose Committee on the rights of Children in the Partner States

In addition, the Assembly shall hold a meeting to study the amended Rules which were passed at the last Sitting in January 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania. The Rules of Procedure have been revised to provide for the much needed clarity and practicability as the Assembly undertakes its mandate.

Also on the cards at the forthcoming Bujumbura sitting is a meeting with the youth from Burundi as well as the EAC Ambassadors. The meeting will see both sides interact and discuss relevant matters pertinent to the integration process. EALA is keen to work closely with the youth who constitute about 63% of the population.

The Assembly shall likewise hold consultations with representatives of the workers and employers under the aegis of the East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) and the East African Employers Association (EAEO). Both the youth and the workers/employers organisations’ are expected to deliver petitions for respective action by the Assembly.

At its last Sitting in Arusha in January this year, the Assembly passed two Bills, three resolutions and key reports. Six other Bills also sailed through the first reading before been channeled to the relevant Committees.

Source: Star Africa

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