The second EAC Common Market Scorecard (CMS) 2016 which evaluates implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol was launched on Friday in Kampala, Uganda by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Hon. Jesca Eriyo.
The Scorecard was developed over a period of 18 months under the supervision of the EAC Secretariat and Partner States. The areas of capital, services and goods were selected for scoping as they are fundamental to the operations of the Common Market.
Addressing the participants at the launching, the EAC Deputy Secretary General stated that “a number of reforms have been undertaken since the 2014 CMS. These have brought the total number of non-conforming measures (NCMs) down from 63 in 2014 to 59 in 2016.’’ While this shows progress it should be noted that all EAC Partner States remain largely non-compliant in their services trade liberalization commitments, added Hon. Jesca Eriyo.
Hon Eriyo disclosed to the participants that In CMS 2016 all Partner States were given full marks for compliance. Subsequent scorecards should consider assessing implementation of these commitments. The Deputy Secretary General informed the participants that the Scorecard is well aligned with the EAC’s implementation priorities. “It fosters peer learning and facilitate the adoption of best practice in the region”.
“The Scorecard will contribute to strengthen the regional market, grow the private sector and deliver benefits to consumers,” stated Hon. Eriyo.
She said the implementation in terms of recognition of certificates of origin, an issue repeatedly identified as a significant non-tariff barrier (NTB) in 2014, Burundi continues to earn full points and Kenya continues to score 90 percent. Tanzania’s recognition of certificates of origin has improved from 50 to 60 percent; Rwanda and Uganda’s scores have both declined, indicating a worsening performance in terms of recognizing certificates of origin of other EAC Partner States. Most countries improved their score on applying tariff equivalent charges, though such charges persist as barriers to intra-EAC trade, stated the EAC official.
Hon Jesca Eriyo disclosed to the participants that the EAC average of resolution of new NTBs for the 2016 period was about 54 percent, better than the 38 percent rate for CMS 2014. The EAC Deputy Secretary General called for greater information sharing regarding the Treaty and Protocol provisions in the Partner States. Some members of the private sector, including private sector apex bodies, were unfamiliar with the Protocol or with the commitments affecting their operations. Hon Eriyo urged Partner States to strongly engage and inform the private sector on the implications on these reforms on their day-to-day operations across the region and develop a private sector reform champions who could help push for implementation.
Catherine Masinde, the Practice Manager, East Africa, Trade and Competitiveness, World Bank Group, said, EAC Partners have done a commendable effort in removing barriers to free movement of capital, services and goods, but more needs to be done
She said the EAC Scorecard provides transparent, rigorous, unbiased and client-led data on the key implementation gaps to the integration of the region’s economies. It also highlights possible reform areas to improve compliance to the Common Market Protocol”.
On his part Vice Chairman of East African Business Council Uganda, Kassim Omary, said it is of atmost importance to measure the extent to which the EAC Parter States are translating the Common Market Protocol into policies that support actualization of free movement of people and workers, goods, services and the rights of establishment and residence within the EAC Partner States
Mr Richard Kamajugo, Senior Director of Trade Mark East Africa in-charge of Trade and Environment, said that the TMEA Program of support to the Common Market Scorecard has been running from 2012 to march 2017, under the EAC Investment Climate Programe. He said the total budget support to the program was US$10.4m, through IFC and EAC (technical support), under a 5 component program aimed at increasing inter and intra-regional trade and investment through investment climate reforms supporting the EAC Common Market.