The First Deputy Prime Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has emphasised the potential for prosperity through the expansion of the regional market, which supports the production of goods and services.
This not only increases the purchasing power of the people but also promotes the production of quality and competitive products in the regional, continental, and international markets.
During the bilateral meeting held in Busia on the 9th, Kadaga and officials from Uganda and Kenya, along with the Joint technical staff from both countries, discussed bilateral issues and matters pending at the two borders.
Kadaga advised the delegations on the importance of continued cooperation among border communities to combat insecurity and promote prosperity.
In a joint Communique, Kadaga and the Cabinet Secretary of East African Community, ASALS and Regional Development, Peninah Malonza, emphasized the excellent bilateral relations between Uganda and Kenya.
They stressed the need to continuously strengthen these relations through the Joint Ministerial Commission, Bilateral engagements, and other diplomatic structures.
The Ministers also recalled and reaffirmed the provisions of the EAC Treaty that prioritize peace and security in promoting regional integration.
The Ministers highlighted the importance of cross-border relations and urged residents in Busia to maintain peaceful coexistence, as people at the border depend on each other for survival.
They directed border control agencies to facilitate the movement of border residents within the available rules and encouraged local administrators and border control agencies to meet quarterly with residents, including traders, to address challenges they face when using the border.
The Ministers committed to addressing challenges presented by Busia stakeholders in a timely manner and directed border control agencies to expedite the implementation of the Simplified Trade Regime to support small-scale traders.
They also instructed relevant agencies, including customs and police, to ensure that trucks are not delayed at the border.
Furthermore, they called for partnerships with international development partners to develop infrastructure, modernize One stop border post’s equipment, and build the capacities of stakeholders and traders.
Regarding fish exports from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) transiting through Uganda, the Ministers stressed the need for proper checks, inspections, and certifications of fish consignments at Busia OSBP to ensure seamless movement of the consignments.
They urged fishermen in Lake Victoria to comply with fisheries laws and regulations and to conduct their activities within the national laws of each Partner State.
The Ministers also highlighted the importance of harmonizing fisheries and aquaculture activities on Lake Victoria and agreed to gazette and expedite the opening of additional points of entry/exit (POEs) along their common boundary to enhance people-to-people integration.
Addressing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) between the two Partner States, the Ministers emphasized their commitment to removing these barriers, which impede market access and contravene the provisions of the EAC Treaty and the Customs Union Protocol.
The Ministers agreed to hold bilateral ministerial meetings every six months on a rotational basis at the various one stop border posts between the two adjoining partner states.