PUBLISHED ON December 15th, 2014

Joint communique from the 8th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit

At the invitation of H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Republic of Kenya, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. James Wani Igga, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, attended the 8th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit on 11th December 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.

In attendance were Hon. Mrs. Leontine Nzeyima, Minister for East African Affairs of the Republic of Burundi, Hon. Habtamu Baye Chekole, Special Envoy of the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Hon. Samuel Sita, Minister for East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), and the Executive Secretary of the Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority.

The Heads of State noted with appreciation the progress registered and renewed their commitment to fast-tracking the implementation of the Infrastructure Projects for transforming the Northern Corridor.

The Heads of State expressed their solidarity with H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and the People of Kenya and condemned the heinous acts of brutality and terror committed by the Al Shabaab in Mandera. They further extended warm appreciation to the Government of Kenya for the excellent preparations for the Summit and congratulated the People of Kenya on the occasion of the 51st Independence Anniversary.

The Heads of State noted the commencement of the use of the National IDs in Uganda and its use as a travel document within the region which will greatly ease the movement of the people.

The Heads of State appreciated the conclusion of the Power Purchase and Wheeling Agreements and the signed MOU on Management of Northern Corridor Air Space bloc. They noted the contribution these will deliver in the development of the Infrastructure for Transmission, Power Trade, and reduction in the cost of air travel in the region.

The Heads of State directed the Minister of Infrastructure of Rwanda to convene a meeting of Airline Industry Stakeholders to finalise negotiations on the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on Entebbe-Nairobi-Juba-Nairobi by 31st December 2014 and address all outstanding issues to reduce the cost of air travel in the region and report to the next Summit.

The Heads of State considered the Ministerial Report, endorsed the recommendations contained therein and directed as follows:

  1. On Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Development, the Summit noted the commencement of the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Section. They directed Ministers for Transport and Infrastructure to expedite ratification of the SGR Protocol and together with the Ministers of Finance, Infrastructure and Attorneys General / Ministry of Justice to jointly mobilise financing for Northern Corridor Integration Projects and report to the next Summit.
  2. On Single Customs Territory (SCT), the Summit noted the gains realized as a result of operationalization of Single Customs Territory. They further took note of the recent disruption on movement of goods on Northern Corridor and directed the Ministers of Finance and the respective Heads of Revenue Authorities to develop mechanisms to resolve such occurrences.

    The Summit further directed the removal of all Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and emphasised the need for compliance by all parties. The Revenue Authorities were directed to expedite mutual accreditation and training of all clearing agents on the upgraded Single Customs Territory Systems operated by Revenue Authorities of the Partner States by end of January 2015. It was also further directed that cargo overstayed at the Port of Mombasa shall be granted full waiver of customs warehouse rent and port demurrage charges to facilitate removal within 60 days from date of publication of notice in the East African Newspaper.

  3. On Information Communication and Technology (ICT), the Summit reiterated the importance of full and speedy operationlization of One Network Area in Uganda and directed Ministers of Finance and ICT to resolve all outstanding issues on the One Network Area by January, 2015.
  4. The Summit further directed the Ministers to operationalize the One Network Area for SMS, Data and Mobile Financial Services and implement the framework developed by the cluster to fast-track virus Projects.

  5. On Human Resources Capacity Building, noting the critical role the Skills Audit will play in identifying the skills gap across all the Infrastructure Projects, the Summit directed the Ministers of Finance to expedite disbursement of funds to commence the Skills Audit Exercise. The Summit further directed Ministers of Education to develop mechanisms to address concerns for good that impede the implementation of uniform tuition fees in Institutions of Higher Learning.
  6. On Oil Refinery Development, the Summit noted with appreciation the commitment made by Partner States towards their participation in shareholding of the Oil Refinery Project in Hoima, Uganda. They welcomed the commitment by Rwanda to announce their level of participation.
  7. On Power Generation, Transmission and Interconnectivity, The Summit noted the progress made in the joint sourcing of funds for the upgrading of the Masaka-Mbarara Transmission line and directed the respective Ministers to monitor progress and ensure that Contractors abide by the set timeline of end 2016 to deliver the Project on schedule by December 2016.
  8. On Crude Oil Pipeline Development, the Summit noted the Partner States contribution towards carrying out of the risk analysis of the project implementation and ownership structure and directed the responsible Ministers to continue facilitating the Consultant in gathering data and information and avail funds for implementing the Project.

    H. On Refined Petroleum Products Pipeline Development, the Summit directed Ministers of Finance to urgently source funds for land acquisition within their territories for the project.

  9. On Commodities Exchange, the Summit directed Ministers in charge of Commodities Exchange to expedite harmonization of Legal and Regulatory Framework for Warehouse Receipt System and report to the next Summit.

    The Summit further directed the Ministers to facilitate formation of National and Regional Associations and/or Cooperatives that work with Standards Bodies, Regulators and other stakeholders to implement the standards for commodities and warehouses.

  10. On Immigration, Tourism, Trade, Labour and Services, the Summit noted the progress achieved in easing the movement of people within the region and directed the Ministers in charge of Immigration to conclude the Agreement on Total Liberalization of Free Movement of Labour and Services and remove the work permit fees charged by 1st January 2015.

    The Summit further directed that all quarterly visa fee collections be remitted on the 15th day of the following month.

  11. K. On Defence, Peace and Security Cooperation, the Summit noted the progress made towards the ratification of the Mutual Defence and Peace and Security Pacts and directed the Ministers to expedite the conclusion of the ratification processes and report to the next Summit.
  12. The Summit further directed the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, to join the Defence, Peace and Security cluster and particularly develop a Comprehensive Conflict and Dispute Resolution Mechanism and report to the next Summit.

  13. Additional Directives

    a) Ministers are directed to ensure adequate representation, participation and adherence to set timelines in all cluster meetings and projects and complete their reports two weeks to the Summit.

    b) Noting the importance of land in the implementation of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, the Summit directed creation of a land cluster coordinate acquisition of way-leaves for the Northern Corridor Integration Projects.

The next Summit will be held in Kigali, Rwanda on February 2015.

Source: The New Times

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