The chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Dr Kirunda Kivejinja, has said Burundi and Tanzania will join other member states of the East African Community (EAC) for the framework for harmonised regional roaming charges by December.
Dr Kivejinja said this when responding to a question by a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) from Rwanda, Celestine Rwigema, who had wanted to know whether the EAC Council of Ministers was aware that phone communication costs in countries that had not joined EAC One Network Area roaming framework were a burden to users.
Dr Kivejinja said that Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan have completed joining the EAC Roaming Framework, which was passed by the EAC Council of Ministers and thereafter presidents of member countries of the EAC ordered for its implementation on July 31, 2015.
“I would like to inform you that by December, this year, the countries of Burundi and Tanzania will have joined the EAC Roaming Framework, a move that will reduce costs when making a phone call within the East African Community bloc,” said Dr Kivejinja
He said the delay by Burundi and Tanzania to join the other member states was due to processes, which, he said, had already been worked upon by the relevant countries and that it was expected that this December would be the deadline for the two countries to do so, in accordance with directives given by presidents of member countries of EAC.
Dr Kivejinja’s statement also prompted another member of Eala Paul Musamali (Uganda) to query as to why Tanzania and Burundi, which are old member states of the EAC, had until now not joined the EAC roaming framework while a new member country of South Sudan had managed to do so.
In the meantime, a member of Eala from Kenya, Mr Abdikadir Omar Aden had wanted to know as to why the East African Development Bank (EADB), which is one the organs of EAC, had been left out of estimates and earnings of the 2018/19 Financial Year.
Mr Aden had also wanted to know as to why EADB finances had not been counted for by the East African Audit Commission as per the law demands.
However, Dr Kivejinja responded that a new structure of EADB that started its operations in 1980, after the collapse of EAC in1977, had no section mentioning EAC because during the inception of EADB there was no EAC.