The East African Business Council Chairman and Board Directors paid a courtesy visit to .H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and Member of the Summit of EAC Heads of State on Saturday, 24th August 2019 at the Entebbe State House, Uganda
Leading the EABC delegation, Mr. Nick Nesbitt, EABC Chairman, was accompanied by Mr. Patrick Bitature, PSFU Chairman and EABC Board Directors & Members namely Mr. Mwine Jim Kabeho, EABC Vice-Chairman & Director, Madhvani Group of Companies, Hon. Peter Mathuki, CEO EABC, Mr. Chris Diaz, EABC Board Director & Group Director Bidco Africa Ltd, Ms. Barbara Mulwana, EABC Board Director& Director Nice House of Plastics,, Mr. Godfrey Simbeye, CEO Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr. Gideon Badagawa, CEO PSFU, Mr. Simon Kaheru, EABC Board Director, Ms. Merian Sebunya, Director PSFU & Member EABC as well as Ms. Waturi wa Matu, Senior Director, TradeMark East Africa and Mr. Moses Ogwal, PSFU.
“Your Excellency, first and foremost allow me, on behalf of the business community and private sector in East Africa congratulate you and more sincerely thank you not only for engaging closely towards a common vision with your counterparts in the other EAC Partner States but also for being a steadfast believer in regional integration,” said Mr. Nick Nesbitt.
“This will go a long way in instilling confidence to the citizens and business community,” said Mr. Nesbitt.
He further said EABC is a respected coordinator and holds respective dialogue with EAC governments with balanced regional views and policy stance. He urged for closer government partnership and involvement with the private sector in policy formulation to enhance the competitiveness of the EAC region, value addition in agriculture, mining & services sectors among others as well as strengthening regional value chains.
Mr. Nebsitt engaged H.E. President Museveni on the need and importance to fast track the comprehensive review of EAC CET; Liberalization of Opens Skies; One Network Area on Telecommunication; Harmonization of Standards in the EAC; Strengthening the EAC Secretariat on enforcement of laws; Market access with Democratic Republic of the Congo; Transport interlinkages in the region - Road, Rail and Water (lake Victoria); Inter-governmental trade dispute resolution mechanism and closer government involvement and government partnership with the private sector.
"A healthy and vibrant private sector will support the social and economic development of the EAC. Involvement and partnership with private sector in budget planning process will allow the growth of local & regional value chains, hence reducing the imports gap in the EAC region,” said Mr. Nesbitt.
“Comprehensive review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) is yet to be finalized four years down the line adversely affecting intra-EAC trade,” said Hon. Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO.
“Liberalize the incoming cargo flights as it will increase cargo volume supporting exports of EAC horticultural products,” urged Ms. Waturi Matu, TMEA.
In his remarks, H.E. President Yoweri Museveni reaffirmed the importance of partnership with the private sector. “Where does wealth creation come from? Prosperity comes from trade! Commercial Agriculture, Industry, Services, ICT” said His Excellency.
H.E. President Museveni re-emphasized that there is no serious industry that can survive on the internal market alone, free trade is the minimum leaders can do to uplift East African livelihoods.
“Private sector is the dynamic and active element that unites the factors of economy, i.e. land, natural resources and labour. The private sector brings on board entrepreneurship and capital,” said H.E. President Museveni
H.E. President Museveni advised for a common strategic ideology for all East Africa .i.e. All Governments should see the primary interest is to promote prosperity, therefore Trade and partnership with Private Sector. H.E. further elaborated that there are no future markets for East African good and services without free-trade in East Africa Community, Africa and Globally. No country’s internal market only is sufficient and viable to survive