Cover Story

South Sudan Ready to Process E.A.C Passports

Mou Mou Athian, Undersecretary Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs (photo by Woja Emmanuel):

By Woja Emmanuel Wani

The undersecretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs Mr. Mou Mou Athian has said that South Sudan is ready to start processing and issuing East African Community Electronic Passports.

“We have already made commitments that we want to have one society and then be governed by common market protocol which is free movement of people, goods and other services, so even if it means now we are ready,” Mou told Juba Monitor in an interview yesterday.

Mou added that the electronic passports will comfort in monitoring free and clean movement of people citing that the current movement is not formulized. He said there would be no hazardous movements because criminals will be trapped and identified.

This came few days after the EAC reportedly set August as the deadline for South Sudan and Rwanda to start issuing their citizens the East African Electronic Passport.

In April last year, the EAC six partner states, including South Sudan were directed to start issuing the new East African machine readable Electronic- Passports by January this year after preparedness of each partner state was considered.

The e-Passport is expected to boost free movement of people across the East African region and facilitate the implementation of the Common Market protocol.

It will have diplomatic, service and ordinary categories, different from the current machine readable passports issued by the partner states.

The e-Passport will be valid for 10 years while the diplomatic passport and service passport will be valid according to the holder’s specific term of the service.

“The chair of the Council of Ministers of East Africa gave South Sudan and the Republic of Rwanda chance until August to operate and print these African passports,” said Kim Gai, a South Sudanese representative to East African Legislative Assembly.

“We have to ask the Minister of Interior of the Republic of South Sudan to issue and operate the passports.”

The deadline was announced during a sitting where the EAC budget of 99.5 million dollars was passed.

Additional reporting by Eye Radio

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