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Parliament urged to ratify EAC treaty

Author : | Published: Thursday, March 10, 2016

The National Legislative Assembly

Senior government officials have appealed to the parliament to ratify the treaty of the East African Community in less than two weeks.

The regional bloc has given South Sudan up to one year to ratify the treaty, but the officials say they want the country to set a record.

The regional bloc admitted South Sudan last week at the seventeenth summit of its heads of states in Arusha.

Vice President James Wani Igga led a government team that attended the meeting.

In a speech to the SPLM parliamentary caucuses today, Mr Wani called on the SPLM caucus and the general secretariat to support the membership.

Most of the MPs are members of the SPLM, with the official opposition represented by less than 10 members.

Mr Wani, who is the deputy chairmen of the SPLM, said party members should stand behind the decision without a choice.

“So it will be you who will spread it to the whole South Sudan and even beyond why on earth we joined EAC,” he said.

For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs says South Sudan should follow the example of Rwanda, which he said ratified the treaty within two weeks after admission.

Other members of the community include Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi.

Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin says South Sudan should be even set a record by ratifying it in less than two weeks.

“I want us to break the record….that the people of South Sudan have come forward,” Dr Marial stated.

The appeal by government officials for a quick ratification comes amid an outcry by the opposition, who say the membership would turn the country into a dumping ground for goods from East Africa.

Last week, SPLM DC chairman Dr Lam Akol criticized the admission.

Dr Lam told Eye Radio that South Sudan does not produce any goods for export, but only imports from the region.

“This is a decision that is not based on any economic advantage, and it is unfortunate, so I think it is a wrong decision,” he added.

With the admission of South Sudan into the East African Community, the region’s market population is estimated at around 160 million people.

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