By Michael Okidi
East African Community and Northern Corridor Development Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya, has called upon the Kenyan media fraternity to partner with his Ministry in promoting the EAC integration agenda for the benefit of all Kenyans.
Mr Munya noted the importance media plays in shaping public opinion, and called for a closer working relationship which, he noted, would ensure Kenyans have access to valuable information on cross border trade and interactions.
Speaking during a media breakfast meeting organized by the Ministry at a Nairobi Hotel, Mr Munya said that there were numerous achievements so far registered under the EAC integration process.
He mentioned infrastructure, where roads like the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road and Voi-Taveta-Holili-Moshi road, both linking Kenya and Tanzania had been completed under the EAC infrastructural development program.
“Feasibility studies for the Malindi-Lunga Lunga-Bagamoyo road are also complete and donors have already pledged financial support for its construction”, he said.
Touching on the EAC Monetary Union, the Cabinet Secretary enumerated a number of benefits the Partner States stand to reap from the anticipated single currency, among them, reduction in transaction costs associated with the exchange of currency by firms involved in import and export trade.
“Whereas multiple currencies discourage trade and investments among the Partner States owing to uncertainties about exchange rates, and resultant transaction costs, a single currency will facilitate faster transactions free from foreign exchange rate risks”, the Cabinet Secretary said.
At the national level, Mr Munya said that the EAC, through its institution, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, had initiated a number of projects and programmes aimed at injecting direct benefits to rural communities along the Lake Victoria basin.
He mentioned the Keroka water and sanitation project serving Kisii and Nyamira Counties; Isebania Water and sanitation project serving residents of Migori County and neighbouring Tarime District in Tanzania; Bomet sewerage treatment plant in Bomet County and Homa Bay Sewerage treatment plant.
Others, he said, included Kericho sewerage treatment plant; rehabilitation of Kisumu water quality laboratory; rehabilitation and expansion of Kisumu sewerage plant; roof catchment and water harvesting project at Aldai Girls Secondary school in Nandi County and Kajulu Hills forest rehabilitation programme in Kisumu.
The meeting was also addressed by the Ministry’s Principal Secretary, Dr Susan Koech, who gave an overview of the EAC integration process and its current stage.
According to Dr Koech, the EAC was moving at a steady pace, given the volume of intra-EAC trade and investments.
She also cited the push towards a single curreny for the EAC, projected to commence in 2024, and the successful implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol that had provided for free movement of persons, labour, goods, services and capital across the borders.