East African Community has continued to realize significant growth and development even though there have been mixed results, EAC Chairperson of the Council of Ministers has said.
According to the Second Deputy Prime Minister, of Uganda, Dr Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, EAC region maintained its position as the fastest-growing sub-region in Africa, with estimated growth of 4.6 % in 2017, up from 4.4 % in 2016.
“Strong growth was widespread in the region, with Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda growing at more than 5%. Growth in Kenya was supported by sustained investment in infrastructure and improvement in the service sectors, while in Uganda and Tanzania growth was mainly supported by strong performance in the industry sector. Rwanda’s growth was supported by favorable weather conditions and higher commodity prices.” Said the chair,
He however pointed out that the economic growth in Burundi and South Sudan remained subdued in 2017, with some signs of steady recovery.
“GDP growth in Burundi contracted by 1.3 % in 2017 compared with a revised contraction of about 1.6 % in 2016. This was mainly due to sustained impact of suspension of financial aid by major donors, shortage of foreign exchange reserves, and declining investment.” He said.
The Minister also stated growth in South Sudan contracted by about 3.5 % in 2017 compared to a contraction of 13.8 % in 2016. Growth deceleration in South Sudan since 2015 has been largely contributed by the combination of low oil prices and reduction in oil production following the ongoing political challenges.
Dr Kivenjija was speaking in Nairobi during the tabling of the EAC 2018/19 budget to the East African Legislative Assembly.
On legislation, the Minister informed the House the Community had enacted among others, the EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2017; the EAC Appropriation Bill, 2017, the EAC Oaths Bill, 2018 and the EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill, 2017. He informed the House that a number of new Bills would be introduced in the coming Financial Year.
“Mr. Speaker, during the Financial Year 2018/2019 the Council will propose amendments to the EAC Standardization, Quality Assurance Metrology and Testing Act (SQMT) 2006. The proposals are intended to make it possible to make SQMT regulations by separating metrology matters from SQT matters. The Council also intends to review and bring amendments to laws relating to trade especially the EAC Competition Act, 2006”, Hon Dr Kivenjija said. The Council of Ministers is to further initiate Bills that support the establishment of the East African Monetary Union. In particular, the Council shall initiate the East African Surveillance Compliance and Enforcement Commission Bill 2018 and the EAC Financial Commission Bill, 2018, in compliance with the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Monetary Union.