KAMPALA, UGANDA: Uganda has rejected a verification report by a select Committee of the East African Community – EAC Council of Ministers proposing the establishment of the East African Central Bank headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
This was revealed by Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the First Deputy Prime Minister and also the Minister of East African Community Affairs – MEACA during a press briefing at the Ministry in Kampala on Friday.
On February 26th 2021, the EAC Council of Ministers at its 40th meeting in Arusha designated July1st 2021 as the date for the coming into being of the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI), a precursor to the East African Central Bank.
The Ministers had also directed the Secretariat to initiate the process of identifying the Institute’s host Partner State, in accordance with the EAC procedures. However, following the pandemic lockdown imposed by the global Covid-19, the process was stayed until this year.
Around March this year after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Uganda, the Secretariat dispatched a verification team to complete the task by undertaking feasibility study in all the seven partner states which included; Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC.
But Kadaga told Uganda Radio Network (URN) that the evaluation report by the verification team of experts interacted with stakeholders in Uganda and their final recommendations were that Tanzania were given priority to host, while sidelining Uganda to be host to the EAC Central Bank.
It is anticipated that the operationalization of the Monetary Institute will effectively set give leeway to the EAC single currency by 2024 as envisaged in the East African Monetary Union Protocol. Kadaga revealed that the Government of Uganda has offered space at the former Greenland Ban to host the Institute while a prime plot of land in Naguru has been secured for the construction of the East African Central Bank headquarters.
Currently, the capital Arush, Tanzania is a host to the EAC headquarters; East African Legislative Assembly – EALA and the East African Court of Justice. According to resolution of the Council of Ministers, a Partner State that will host the Monetary Institute shall as well cover office rent, office equipment, utilities and other support for the first two years. The Institute will act as a transitional mechanism to the EA Central Bank that will issue the single currency expected to be in place by the year 2024.
At the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, legislators under their Parliamentary Forum on the East African Community Affairs Committee – PEACA are today concluding the two days induction and orientation to discuss deepening issues of expediting the East African Federation.
Nuwe Amanya Mushega who served as the Secretary General of the EAC from 2001 until 2006, said currently the EAC integration process has achieved key milestones though it collapsed in 1967 after it was created in 1963, but it was revived in 2000.
The Chairperson of the EAC Affairs Committee, Dicksons Collins Kateshumbwa, observed that while the integration seems to be farfetched, key achievements have made but also several challenges still exist relating to the common market and movement of labour.
Kateshumbwa explained that in 2017, the EAC established single customs territory to facilitate faster trade within the region, including elimination of non-tariff barriers to reduce cost of doing business. At the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the seven EAC heads of state held on July 22nd 2022 in Arusha, the EAC Heads of State directed all partner states to ratify all outstanding agreements and protocols and deposit with the Secretary General instruments of ratification December 31st 222.
The summit also assented to several Bills passed by EALA. They include; East African Community Customs Management Bill, 2018; the East African Community Appropriation Bill, 2020; the East Africa Community Supplementary Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2020; and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill, 2021 among others to speed up infrastructure for the East African Federation.