The Opposition in Parliament has welcomed the passing of the East African Monetary Institute Bill 2017, which will pave way for a single currency in East Africa.
The East African Monetary Institute Bill sought to set up the agency to perform the role of a regional central bank and establish a single currency.
During a meeting with members of the East African Legislative Assembly, Uganda Chapter, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan, said “the Opposition MPs are welcome to the idea of the regional monetary framework and currency.”
The members led by Hon. Stephen George Odongo are visiting Uganda as part of their sensitization drive to update the country on the progress of regional integration and on the critical legislations passed by the EALA.
“You have our support on the law and we hope to see the currency come to life in 2024,” she said.
The Monetary Union, which involves a common currency and with common fiscal and monetary policies, is one of the stages of the integration of the six countries of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda.
Aol Ocan added that Opposition Cabinet has always recommended that the Uganda contributes diligently to the EAC.
Odongo said the passing of the Bill prepares the East Africa Community (EAC) for a single currency to foster trade in the region.
“By 2024 we shall have one monetary currency that will harmonize the exchange rates in the region and fiscal policies,” he said.
Odongo added that bill will contribute to foster regional integration.
He also said that EALA had passed the EAC Statistics Bill, which is expected to help project the region’s Gross Domestic Product and help plan and assist the transition to monetary union.
The EA Statistics Bureau Bill is expected to create a regional body similar to European Union’s Eurostat, responsible for gathering data to guide decision making within the EAC Monetary Union.
Hon. Paul Musamali, Uganda’s other representative to Arusha, raised concern over some of the funding challenges faced by the regional assembly.
“Each country contributes US$8.8 million which is 50 per cent of the budget of EALA and it is not even done on time; this leaves us in a precarious situation to scavenge for funds,” he said.
He added that, “If we are to shield ourselves against neo-colonialism we need to fund the assembly well”.