National laws in need of speedy approximation to regional legislation – EALA says
Regional legislators now want Partner States to speedily undertake harmonization and approximation of laws in line with those of the Community saying that delays affect the speed with which the Community is moving. EALA thus says, additional resources should be provided to support the harmonization of laws and to aid implementation of Council of Ministers, decisions that have arisen over the last Financial Years, but are yet to be undertaken.
The recommendations are contained in a report of the Committee on Rules and Privileges of the Oversight activity on approximation of national laws in Partner States, presented and adopted by the Assembly this afternoon. The Report presented to the House by the Chair of the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges, Hon Peter Mathuki, follows activities of oversight work undertaken by the Committee in the Partner States earlier on in the year.
In a bid to operationalise the implementation of the provisions Article 126 (2) (b) of the EAC Treaty, the Council of Ministers established a Sub-Committee to spearhead the process of harmonisation and approximation of national laws in the EAC context. The Sub-Committee is headed by the Law Reform Commissions of Partner States and it works under the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs. In undertaking its activities, the Sub- Committee considers/analyses national laws to ascertain their convergences and divergences from one Partner State to another. Also, the Sub- Committee determines whether national laws are in line with the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and its Protocols.
The report avers that National Parliaments have play a critical role in the process of harmonization of laws in the Partner States. However, their representation at the various national task forces on harmonization of laws is less visible. At the same time, it states there are coordination challenges among the various Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for harmonization and approximation of laws.
However, all Partner States have amended certain laws thereby approximating them to some of the Acts of the Community. The Republic of Burundi has revised the Immigration Act in 2012 to provide for a six-months pass for EAC citizens; the Law no 1/07 of 26 April 2010 of Code of Commerce and the law governing Public and Private Partnerships.
Republic of Rwanda has amended 10 legislations. They are Law relating to Immigration and Emigration in Rwanda, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda; Law of Contracts; Law on sale of goods; Companies law and Laws relating to Commercial Recovery and Settling of Issues Arising from Insolvency. Other pieces of legislation are the Laws on the Protection of Intellectual Property; Private and Public Partnerships; Competition and Consumer Protection; and Law relating to Investment Promotion and Facilitation.
In Kenya, the harmonized pieces include; the Insolvency Act, 2015; Partnership Act and the Limited Liability Partnership Act, Kenya citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Act and the Kenya Citizenship and immigration Act as well as the Labour Institutions Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Work Injury Benefits Act.
The United Republic of Tanzania is reported to have made amendment/enacted the following pieces of laws: Amended the Immigration Regulation and the Immigration (Visa) Regulations; enacted the law on employment of non-citizens; enacted a new Companies law; and enacted the Business Names and Registration Act. United Republic of Tanzania has further gone ahead to amend the Forex Exchange Act, 2008; and the Capital Market and Securities Act.
In Uganda, another ten pieces of legislation have been amended. They include the Companies Act; Insolvency Act; Partnership Act; Business Names and Registration Act and the Accountancy Regulation Act. Others are the Trade Licensing Act; Airport Service Charges Act; Civil Aviation (Air Operator Certification and Administration) Regulations No. 26 of 2012; The Civil Aviation (Air Craft Regulation and Marking) Regulations; and the Financial Institutions Act, No. 2 of 2007.
Contributing to the debate in the House, Hon Maryam Ussi called on Partner States to go the extra mile in harmonization of their laws to that of the EAC and stressed the need for sensitization on the importance of EAC laws.
Hon. Martin Ngoga stressed the need to strengthen national policy networks to ensure effective harmonization processes that enable efficient uptake of Community Laws.
Hon. Mwinyi on his part, urged the Council of Ministers to implore Partner States to inculcate strong policy on Integration that will boost the Community and faster the harmonization of the laws.
Hon. Abubakar Zein stated that in order for the integration process to succeed, East Africans need to adhere to the EAC Treaty.
Hon Mike Sebalu remarked that Partner States who delay to approximate or amend their national laws affect the Partner States that have adjusted theirs in particular and EAC in general.
On her part, Hon Shyrose Bhanji congratulated the Republics of Rwanda and Uganda for being ahead in the approximation and harmonization of their respective laws and advised Council of Ministers to play a lead role towards strengthening the integration process.
Hon Joseph Kiangoi also rooted for speedy harmonization saying it would bring the Community together. He recommended for amendment of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC to enable Ministers responsible for the EAC Affairs to reside in Arusha to push the integration process even further.
Hon Susan Nakawuki, Hon Nancy Abisai, Hon Adam Kimbisa, Hon Dora Byamukama and Hon Leonce Ndarubagiye also supported the Report.