Mu­sev­eni roots for in­te­gra­tion

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY EABW REPORTER

ARUSHA, TAN­ZA­NIA-Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Kaguta Mu­sev­eni is root­ing for en­hanced eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion as an im­pe­tus to en­sur­ing a stronger bloc nec­es­sary for the re­gion’s pros­per­ity. Ad­dress­ing EALA at the com­mence­ment of the 4th Meet­ing of the 5th Ses­sion in Kam­pala last week, the Head of State called on the re­gion to em­brace “a Make EAC, Buy EAC” ini­tia­tive in or­der to pro­tect jobs and stim­u­late in­vest­ments in the mar­ket. Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni called on the re­gion to take ad­van­tage of its pop­u­la­tion size which he termed a re­source for the EAC. “If there is wealth of the East African re­gion, which many do not talk about of­ten – this is the pop­u­la­tion of the re­gion. It is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors given that it has 162 Mil­lion peo­ple in­clud­ing Repub­lic of South Su­dan”, Pres­i­dent Mu- sev­eni said. The Pres­i­dent main­tained pop­u­la­tion of the EAC was a wealth cre­ator made up of pro­duc­ers of goods and ser­vices through of­fer­ing skilled, un­skilled and in­tel­lec­tual com­pe­ten­cies as well as con­sumers. The Pres­i­dent said tex­tiles, ap­par­els, shoes and au­to­mo­tive con­sti­tute some of the in­dus­tries whose prod­ucts could ei­ther be made in the re­gion or lo­cally as­sem­bled. The Pres­i­dent gave a fur­ther ex­am­ple of the Fed­eral Repub­lic of Ethiopia say­ing the north­ern neigh­bour was today pri­or­i­tiz­ing lo­cal as­sem­blage of mo­tor ve­hi­cles. He said the time had come for the re­gion to be­gin dis­card­ing the im­por­ta­tion of sec­ond-hand clothes (Mi­tumba) say­ing Uganda was spend­ing over 880 Mil­lion Dol­lars an­nu­ally on tex­tiles com­ing from out­side the re­gion. “We (EAC) can­not con­tinue to be a mar­ket for im­ports,” the Head of State said. “We need to use the pol­icy in­stru­ments to en­sure lo­cal pro­duc­tion”, he added. The Pres­i­dent said the re­gion was con­sol­i­dat­ing on its gains in In­fra­struc­ture and said open­ing of a new Berth at the port of Mom­basa, con­struc­tion of the Stan­dard Gauge Rail­way, im­prove­ment of roads in the Republics of Kenya and Tan­za­nia, as well as sta­ble elec­tric­ity would en­sure the costs of do­ing busi­ness were re­duced. He re­it­er­ated that EAC Po­lit­i­cal Fed­er­a­tion would in the long run, en­sure sta­bil­ity and the fu­ture safety of Africa and termed uni­fi­ca­tion of the re­gion as a strate­gic se­cu­rity for the EAC in the face of the world pow­ers. “One Part­ner State in the re­gion can­not do it alone, we must stay united. We must there­fore en­hance and talk about Po­lit­i­cal Fed­er­a­tion,” Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni said. The Pres­i­dent called for the con­ser­va­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment say­ing it was a se­ri­ous is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed. He main­tained that Uganda and the EAC re­gion would need to re­store the wet­lands as a mat­ter of pri­or­ity, and avoid till­ing the sur­round­ing ar­eas to grow rice and other crops, say­ing the prac­tice was fur­ther de­bil­i­tat­ing the amount of rain across the en­tire EAC re­gion. Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni hailed East Africans for fight­ing Fe­male Gen­i­tal Mu­ti­la­tion (FGM) say­ing the cul­tural prac­tice was out­dated and cruel. On so­cial co­he­sion, the

Pres­i­dent rooted for Kiswahili say­ing it was a uni­fy­ing fac­tor for the en­tire re­gion. He said Kiswahili was widely spo­ken among the over 160 Mil­lion in­hab­i­tants at the EAC. In at­ten­dance were key gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, leg­is­la­tors from the Par­lia­ment of Uganda, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the diplo­matic corps, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pri­vate sec­tor as well as the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the EAC Youth Am­bas­sadors plat­form among oth­ers. In his wel­come re­marks, the Speaker of the EALA, Rt. Hon Daniel F. Kidega noted that the Sit­ting was tak­ing place at an ir­re­versible time in the re­gional in­te­gra­tion pro- cess. He called on the re­gion to pri­ori­tise food se­cu­rity in the ad­vent of cli­mate change and to have con­tin­gency pro­grams to ad­dress the loom­ing famine, the re­gion was likely to face. “I have re­cently tra­versed the re­gion and no­ticed the dire lack of rains”, he said. “Gov­ern­ments like­wise should strengthen ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems, pro­mote joint wa­ter­con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, early warn­ing sys­tems, re­search, ex­ten­sion and train­ing”, he added. The Speaker called for the main­te­nance of peace and se­cu­rity in the re­gion say­ing the sta­bil­ity of Part­ner States was vi­tal for progress. He urged the re­gion to em­brace demo­cratic ideals and good gov­er­nance. The Speaker fur­ther called for free and fair elec­tions in the re­gion. “Demo­cratic elec­tions are crit­i­cal as the re­verse could pose se­ri­ous chal­lenges to our sta­bil­ity, de­moral- ize in­vestors and lead to slow-down of economies. Ad­her­ence to Con­sti­tu­tions and elec­toral laws on the part of the lead­ers, politi­cians and elec­toral reg­u­la­tory bod­ies is there­fore key”, the Speaker said. “On the other side, cit­i­zens must ex­er­cise their con­sti­tu­tional rights in a just man­ner, well aware that choices have con­se­quences. At this junc­ture, I wish our Sis­ter Part­ner States of Kenya and Rwanda who are go­ing to polls in 2017 free, peace­ful and cred­i­ble elec­tions”, he added. The EALA Speaker noted that the 3rd Assem­bly had made progress and cited some of the milestones re­al­ized in­clud­ing en­act­ment of 25 Bills, adop­tion of 63 Res­o­lu­tions and pas­sage of 80 re­ports. The Assem­bly has like­wise stream­lined sen­si­ti­za­tion ac­tiv­i­ties as well as other gov­er­nance in­stru­ments in­clud­ing the Rules of Pro­ce­dure. This is the last Sit­ting of the Assem­bly in the Repub­lic of Uganda in line with the Prin­ci­ple of ro­ta­tion. The Assem­bly which has two more sit­tings be­fore its ten­ure ends in June 2017.

Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni hailed East Africans for fight­ing Fe­male Gen­i­tal Mu­ti­la­tion (FGM) say­ing the cul­tural prac­tice was out­dated and cruel

The Pres­i­dent main­tained that the pop­u­la­tion of the EAC was a wealth cre­ator made up of pro­duc­ers of goods and ser­vices through of­fer­ing skilled, un­skilled and in­tel­lec­tual com­pe­ten­cies as well as con­sumers.

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