PUBLISHED ON March 12th, 2015

EAC leaders waive permit fees for citizens

If you are a graduate within the East African Community, you could look beyond your country for a job opportunity.

Presidents of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda have agreed to waive working permit fees for citizens within the regional bloc.

Speaking to journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Kampala, Okello Oryem, the state minister for foreign affairs said that Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) agreed during the recently concluded 9th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on March 7, 2014 that professionals should freely seek opportunities within the member states.

However, Oryem said, that the waiver only applies to professionals and that member states would reciprocate the same.

“Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda professionals can now work within the member states freely. However, one should be a professional. If you are a riffraff, cleaner, sweeper, office messenger or serving tea, we don’t want you in Uganda. This waiver only applies to professionals,” he said.

Before the waive on permit fees, citizens within the EAC member states were required to apply for a work permit if they were to seek opportunities in any state within the bloc.

At the Kigali Northern Corridor Integration projects summit, Presidents Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Salva Kiir (South Sudan) attended in a move observers said would improve the joint implementation of the various infrastructure development projects that EAC leaders want to implement.

The Northern Corridor brings together Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan. Tanzania, Burundi, and Ethiopia also take part as observers.

However, Oryem said that Burundi committed in Kigali that it would join as a member.

Among the joint initiatives of these states is to upgrade the railway network to standard gauge, build oil refineries and pipelines, use of national IDs as substitutes for passports for travel within the member states, build skills and capacity of citizens, upgrade the road network, airspace management and defence and security cooperation.

Source: New Vision

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