Uhuru Kenyatta says EAC single currency to strengthen competition

From left, East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Margaret Zziwa, President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi leaving the National Assembly, November 26, 2013. Photo | BILLY MUTAI

What you need to know:

  • The East African Community Monetary Union Protocol is expected to be signed at the Heads of State Summit on November 30.
  • President Kenyatta said this would also assure investors that East Africa is “a genuine single market and an attractive place for business.”

The creation of a single currency for East Africa will strengthen competition in the domestic markets of the countries, President Uhuru Kenyatta has told MPs from the East African Legislative Assembly.

Speaking when he addressed the Assembly (EALA) in the presence of Kenyan MPs, President Kenyatta said this would also reduce the costs of transacting in different currencies across the five countries.

The East African Community Monetary Union Protocol is expected to be signed at the Heads of State Summit on November 30.

“In many ways, the Monetary Union is the logical culmination of integration efforts. All the things we seek in integration will be multiplied in the Monetary Union,” said President Kenyatta.

“Moreover, the costs of transacting in different currencies and the risks associated with adverse exchange rate movements in respect of intra-community trade will be eliminated.”

The signing of the protocol would make way for its implementation within a 10-year period.

President Kenyatta said this would also assure investors that East Africa is “a genuine single market and an attractive place for business.”

“Politically, the Monetary Union is a statement of our partner states’ commitment to a shared destiny as East Africans and not just a group of neighbouring states,” said President Kenyatta.

REMOVE TRADE BARRIERS

EALA Speaker Margaret Zziwa said the assembly’s members are impressed by the steps taken by the Kenyan government to remove barriers to trade in the region.
She said this has reduced considerably the time cargo takes to move from the port of Mombasa to Malaba border point from three weeks to six days.

Dr Zziwa said the directive from the President to have the Customs’ boss at the Kenya Revenue Authority stationed in Mombasa and not Nairobi as before had also helped in a big way.

EALA has been meeting at the refurbished County Hall chambers.

Adam Kimbisa, a Tanzanian member of the assembly, stole the show while giving thanks to the President on behalf of his colleagues with remarks laced with humour.

As he congratulated President Kenyatta on his election, he said his name had changed from Uhuru, which means “freedom” in Kiswahili, to “Utumwa”, which means “servant.”

“State House can sometimes turn into a maximum security jail. What do I mean? Mr President you used to go anywhere, anytime, to nyama choma. Now you can’t. Your life was free but now your life is programmed like a computer. From sunrise to sunset, you have no time for yourself,” said Mr Kimbisa.
He told Kenyans that now that the elections are finished, there should be support for those in office so they can accomplish their goals and bring development.

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