National News

DEADLINE, Gov’t rushes to beat EAC October date

By Kitab A Unango

South Sudan is in a rush to beat the October deadline to fully join the East African Community.

South Sudan joined the East African Community bloc in April 2016 increasing the number of member states to six including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

The country was given three years transitional period to prepare and build its capacity to fully join the body in October, 2019.

However, many provisions of the community have not been implemented till date, raising questions whether the country can meet the October deadline.

As the date draws closer, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs with support from the European Union has embarked on educating all the civil servants on the importance of joining the bloc.

The training, which started some months back will end in October, the dateline South Sudan will fully join the organization and be entitled to all the opportunities like any other member country.

Mau Mau Athian Kuol, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs said many civil servants have not understood the benefits of South Sudan being a member to the bloc.

Speaking yesterday during training of army generals on the importance of joining the bloc, Athian said the ministry will ensure all government employees are educated made to own the processes.

He also said becoming the full member of the EAC required roles and supports of civil servants in the country.

“Our institutions are required to implement the commitment we made to the East African Community. The activities that are supposed to be implemented should be clearly understood by all the civil servants,” Athian said.

“Many people, including the army, have not understood EAC and we want everyone to play their roles,” he added.

However, a consultant Charles Data Alemi, the Director of Imani Development, Global Vision, Local Knowledge, wondered whether the country will meet the dateline to join the bloc.

He said the South Sudan was yet to implement “Customs Union Protocols” crucial to fully join the body.

He said harmonizing custom union will ensure non-custom barriers such as road blocks and double taxation of goods and services made in the member countries.

Alemi pointed out the country would gain a lot by joining the EAC urging that government should ensure implement all the protocols it early accented to.

“I encourage the government to fully implement all the protocols,” he said.

The country has struggled to remit most of its annual obligations of $8 million, leaving a debt of at least $27 million.

The EAC treaty Article 146 says that the summit may suspend a member state from taking part in the activities of the community if it fails to observe and fulfill the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty, including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.


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