Four crucial Bills has sailed through the First Reading at the floor of the East African Legislative Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania on 31 May 2017.
The EAC Youth Council Bill, 2017, the EAC Mining Bill 2017, the EAC Appropriation Bill 2017 and the EAC Cross Border Trade in Professional Services Bill, 2017, were read for the first time yesterday and committed to the relevant committees.
The EAC Cross Border Trade in Professional Services Bill, 2017, which is expected to be a boost to the Common Market Protocol, is moved by Hon Fred Mukasa Mbidde. The Bill hopes to provide for the conduct and regulation of Cross Border Trade in Professional Services in the Community and to make provisions for purposes connected to the practice of professions through borders of the Community.
The Bill is premised on Article 104 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC under which the Partner States undertook to adopt measures to achieve free movement of persons, labour and services and to ensure the enjoyment of the right of establishment and residence of the citizens within the Community.
At the same time, the Bill should see the operationalisation of Article 76 of the Treaty which provides for free movement of labour, goods, services, capital and the rights of establishment. In the same regard, it takes into account the provisions of article 10 on free movement of workers and Article 11 on harmonisation and mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications.
The EAC Mining Bill 2017, moved by Hon Chris Opoka-Okumu hopes to provide legal framework for the regulation of mining operations in the Community. It seeks to implement the EAC Vision 2050 and specifically to operationalise Article 114(2) (c ) (iv) of the EAC Treaty which calls for harmonisation of mining regulations to ensure environmentally friendly and sound mining practices.
The Bill further provides for a transparent and accountable mechanism for the reporting of mining and mineral related activities in the Community. It is to ultimately reduce the differences in the operating environment for the mining sector.
Not to be left behind are the youth who make a significant percentage of the EAC populace following the introduction of the EAC Youth Council Bill, 2017. The Bill moved by Hon Susan Nakawuki, is premised on Article 120 of the EAC Treaty and seeks to implement the EAC Youth Policy 2014 which is an integral part of the 4th EAC Development Strategy 2011/2012 – 2015/2016. The Bill recognises that Partner States have diverse laws and policies regarding the youth in their territories. The Bill therefore attempts to uniformalise the laws and regulations pertaining to youth in the Community.
The Appropriation Bill, 2017 on its part, makes provision for appropriation out of the budget of EAC for specified amounts of money for the services and purposes of the Community for the Financial Year ending 30th June 2018.
Parliament meets for the entire day on Wednesday, 31st May, 2017.