KAM CEOs Brief | 7 October 2016

2nd Tripartite Private Sector Regional Dialogue on Harmonizing and Developing a Private Sector Position on the Movement of Business Persons

The COMESA Business Council, East Africa Business Council and Association of SADC Chambers Of Commerce and Industry as the Tripartite Private Sector Platform convened the second (2nd) Private Sector Regional Dialogue -Movement of Business Persons Meeting in Lusaka Zambia from the 29th -30th September 2016, in Lusaka Zambia. The meeting was composed of representatives’ private sector associations, Chambers of Commerce’s and business community from the tripartite region.

The objective was to come up with proposals on frameworks to facilitate movement of business persons in the region and to assess the Draft Annex- Agreement on the Movement of Business Persons as part of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) framework.

The meeting recalled the various Protocols and frameworks to advance the free movement of persons under all the three Tripartite Regional Economic Communities, with the EAC even fully implementing a Common market; and the Abuja Treaty on African economic integration. As such, the movement of business persons and labour is an essential facet to the fulfillment of the TFTA trade liberalization objectives under the TFTA Agreement.

The free movement of business persons is the ultimate goal; as movement of economic actors is important for regional economic integration. The Draft Annex -Agreement on the Movement of Business Persons should reflect;

  • Vision focusing on the development of a visa free regime for the movement of business persons as the ultimate goal.
  • Framework for the Movement of Business Persons. The framework or the Draft Annex, Agreement on the Movement of Business persons should provide for a regime that effectively promotes the movement of business persons in a manner that provides for expediting of processing, longer period of stay and duration of visa.
  • Private Sector Inclusiveness in the TFTA negotiations forum
  • Increased Awareness on the regulatory frameworks for the Movement of Business persons.

There is limited information on business visa regimes among most stakeholders, both public and private sector with most being aware of the tourist visa frameworks instead. The public and private sector stakeholders are called upon to increase awareness on the visa regimes for business persons and the existing practices on the movement of business persons in the tripartite region.

Meeting Held between KAM and Intergovernmental Technical Committee

KAM team lead by the CEO, Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga paid a courtesy call to the Intergovernmental Relations and Technical committee (IGRTC) on 6October 2016 at their offices in Parklands Plaza. The team was met warmly by the Committee members lead by their Chairman Prof. Karega Mutathi.

Ms. Wakiaga elaborate on the memorandum shared with IGRTC on issues challenging the manufacturing sector under the new governments under Devolution. Members appreciated the role of the two levels of government however there needs to have synergy among the two levels of government and among st the 47 counties to enable businesses to thrive and be competitive.

Among the issues deliberated upon included:

  • Business licences
  • Gazetted Transition Authority (TA) Advisory
  • Challenges faced under public participation
  • Infrastructure in the counties

Way forward:

  • There is need for a National Policy that will guide counties on revenue raining and administration; this can help harmonize the issues of fees and charges.
  • Despite the worry of the Economic blocks turning into political units, we need to pursue this with the government to make them work for industry – ease inter county trade.
  • Also caution the counties from creating tariff barriers as already being experienced by our neighboring EAC members where Kenya has been reported.
  • Private sector to work jointly when advocating for business challenges affecting them with counties
  • KAM to share on work done in pursuant to advocating for good revenue laws with IGTC for follow up and joint efforts. Continue engagements with CRA, treasury, Ministry of industrialization on lobbying for favorable business environment.
  • A follow up meeting with the Champion for Policy, Legal and Regulations member, Prof Shanyisa Khasiani and work a road map to identify and prioritize issues affecting meeting, a technical committee to be formed to spearhead the partnership.
  • Share case examples of counties with Best practice for knowledge and strategy development On Countries where devolution is working.
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