DP RUTO URGES COHESION OF EAST AFTRICA MEMBER STATES.

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Deputy President William Ruto,Bidco Chief Executive Office Vimah Shah and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery at DP’s home in Karen.
BY THOMAS KARIUKI.

Infrastructure development and revised friendly business policies are among the major issues to foster East Africa Community integration, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

DP Ruto also challenged the private sector to encourage business entities and partnerships across the EAC region instead of individual countries.

“There is need for us to encourage a situation where we should have companies with partners from the six EAC member countries. By doing this we will make our integration a reality,” said Mr Ruto.

He added that what is currently witnessed in most member states are business silos that are based on individual countries and what we want to see is business companies with Tanzanian, Rwandan or Ugandan counterparts and vice versa.

By doing this, the Deputy President said the private sector would be able to push and influence policy when they work as regional and not individual entities.

Mr Ruto also urged the business community in East Africa to consider forming a strong company and one common market so as to have a better bargaining power in soliciting for tenders for mega projects.

“We should have one common market that brings together all the six countries. This will give a true meaning of the EAC spirit,” said Mr Ruto.

On the request by China to be part of the Free Trade Area (FTA) with EAC, the Deputy President urged businesspeople in the region not to fear competition.

“Don’t fear the Chinese. Take advantage of the situation and negotiate with them what you can export to their country. I am sure you will gain a lot from such an arrangement,” said Mr Ruto.

DP Ruto additionally called for teamwork and unity in eliminating non-tariff barriers that have become stumbling block to the free flow of business within the EAC member countries.

He said that time has come for EAC to collectively seek permanent solutions to the challenges facing citizens in the region.

He singled out the introduction of interstate pass and use of Identification Cards by EAC citizens, implementation of EAC single tourist visa and the abolishment of the railway development levy on goods originating from EAC partner states as some of the efforts spearheaded by Kenya.

“The services at the port of Mombasa have improved tremendously following the launch of the Mombasa Port Charter including development of berth 19, building of new terminal and developing lanes at gate 18,” he said.

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