Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have made good progress towards ensuring the free movement of goods, capital and services in the region, according to the newly-released Common Market scorecard.
The scorecard that was launched mid this week in Arusha, Tanzania was meant to help monitor the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol signed in 2010.
It analyzes movement of goods, services and capital. An analysis of the findings shows that restrictions remain in all the five member states of the EAC - with Tanzania and Burundi leading the rest of the partner states in the amount of restrictions still in place.However, three partner states have made good progress. Kenya scored highest, with 17 out of 20 unrestricted operations on free movement of capital. Rwanda and Uganda are both tied in second position with 15, while Tanzania and Burundi both scored 4 out of 20 on free movement of capital. The scorecard, which was also launched in Kigali on Wednesday, shows that all the five countries still have restrictions on inward investment from other EAC countries. It cites the 2011 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of Bralirwa and the Bank of Kigali in Rwanda, and Umeme in Uganda, where investors from Burundi and Tanzania did not freely participate due to rigorous capital controls.
On free movement of services, the findings show that out of 500 key sectoral laws and regulations of the EAC partner states, at least 63 restrict movement of professionals in various fields.
The scorecard recommends alignment of national laws with regional integration laws. Partner states have been challenged to establish an enabling environment to stimulate movement of goods, services and capital in the regio."Domestic laws have to be reformed to allow the service providers movefreely.We have seen the rewards of the integration; especially, intraregional trade has increased," Carolyn Turk, the World Bank country representative in Rwanda, said.
Professionals, she added, need to move freely without restrictions to help increase access to services for regional citizens.
Trade barriers remain Despite the efforts put on eliminating trade barriers, the scorecard shows that certificates of origin of goods are still a challenge to regional traders. Alfred K’Ombudo, the lead author of the report, said all five countries were yet to fully eliminate non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to cross-border trade. Out of 51 reported NTBs, 35 percent are in Tanzania, 31 percent in Kenya and 18 percent in Uganda. Rwanda has 10 percent, while Burundi has 6 percent. The most affected products are manufactured goods, and foodstuffs like rice, tea,dairy products and alcoholic beverages.