Citizens from East African countries will soon transact their businesses using a single currency as per the Monetary Union Protocol signed in 2013.
East African Community and Northern Corridor Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the signing and the passing of the East African Monetary Institute in May this year has enabled the East African Community (EAC) to put in place a legislative framework for the operationalisation of the monetary union.
“EAC is focused on achieving this economic feat by the year 2024 as the benefits partner states stand to reap from single currency are numerous,” said Munya.
He said firms involved in imports and export trade will benefit from the single currency through reduction in transaction costs associated with the exchange of currency, adding that the currency will also facilitate faster transactions free from foreign exchange rate risks.
The CS urged Kenyans to take advantage of the available opportunities and engage in beneficial cross border movement trade, education and employment.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting on Thursday, the Cabinet Secretary noted that EAC was not only looking at an East Africa market that will attract trade among its partners states, but make the region an attractive investment destination for multi-nationals seeking a conducive business environment.
He said currently, many Kenyans were benefiting from the EAC projects, singling out the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road and Voi-Taveta-Holili-Moshi road, both linking Kenya and Tanzania that were completed under the EAC infrastructural development programme.
“We have already completed feasibility studies for Malindi-Lunga Lunga-Bagamoyo road and donors have already pledged financial support for its construction,” he added.
He at the same time, announced that the construction of one stop border posts in East Africa has eased border clearance procedures, as well as reduced the time taken by trucks to do clearance.
Munya said studies have shown that clearance time has reduced by 60 percent in Taveta, Namanga and Busia which are now operating under the one stop border posts.
He announced that Lunga Lunga , Isebania , Namanga and Malaba one stop border posts have already been completed and will be commissioned soon.
Other projects being enjoyed by Kenyans include the Keroka water and sanitation project serving Kisii and Nyamira Counties, Isebania water and sanitation project in Migori County, Bomet Sewerage treatment plant in Bomet County, Homabay sewerage treatment plant, Kericho sewerage treatment plant and rehabilitation of Kisumu water quality laboratory.
Kenyans are also benefiting from the rehabilitation and expansion of Kisumu sewerage plant, roof catchment and water harvesting projects at Aldai Girls Secondary School in Nandi County and Kajulu Hills Forest rehabilitation programme in Kisumu County among others
He said EAC is currently reviewing the Common External Tariffs (CET) in order to address the challenges that hinder local industries to prosper and access markets, as well as increase tariffs on imported goods.
The CS said EAC also has plans of harmonising laws that touch on curriculum’s and educational standards, labour and profession standards, pension, employment, trade, communication network, EAC single visa and single airspace.
“The harmonisation is aimed at deepening and widening integration among the partner states and making trade easier cross borders,” said Munya.
Speaking at the event, the EAC Principal Secretary Dr. Susan Koech said the East African Community integration will be progressively realised through the four pillars which are customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation.
On the status of the common market, Dr. Koech said that EAC has made achievements in the policy harmonisation and implementation of joint programmes in agriculture and food security, movement of labour and services, as well as in the areas of movement of workers and infrastructure development.
She, however, noted that the progress has been slow due to partner states back peddling on their commitments, slow pace of harmonising laws and lack of sanction mechanism among others.