EAC Parliamentary Session Starts in Bujumbura
(PANA)--The 45 parliamentarians of the Legislative Assembly of the East African Community (EAC) on Tuesday began, in Bujumbura, a two-week ordinary session to consider a number of bills relating to customs integration and the common market, official sources told PANA.
The legislative sessions of the EAC are rotating and Burundi is hosting it for the first time, two years after its admission as a member of the community, which has more than 120 million consumers. The other members -Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya -have some advantages over Burundi for they commonly use English as main working language in the Legislative Assembly of the Community. Burundi Minister of East African Community Affairs, Hafsa Mossi, on the eve of the opening of the legislative session, pleaded the cause of the French language commonly used in her country, ‘so that all member states can work in agreement and harmony.’
Furthermore, the rotating presidency of the EAC will not be assumed by Burundi from 1 July as expected, and Rwanda’s mandate will be extended for reasons not clearly explained yet. Few Burundian economic and industrial operators are ready to embark on the fierce competition within the EAC following more than a decade of civil war that has undermined the country’s socio-economic production tool.
The meteoric rise of Rwanda has also started to trigger a fierce competition on Burundi’s market, as it does not favour the export of vital local commodities such as sugar, coffee, palm oil or fish from Lake Tanganyika, to the southern neighbouring country, which has more substantial purchasing power. Declaring the current session open, Burundian head of state, Pierre Nkurunziza, declared ‘with the war over, my country is moving towards sustainable stability that will make it an active and reliable partner in Africa’s free-trading community’.
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