Lado Lukak, vice president of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce (L), and Thomas Dut, president of the South Sudan branch of the East African Legislative Assembly (R) addressing to journalists after a meeting in Juba on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 [Photo by Sudans Post]

JUBA – South Sudanese lawmakers from the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday launched a week-long sensitization program on the common market protocol to enable free movement of people, goods and services in the region.

The objectives of the sensitization meetings, among others, are to shine a light on the business community on the overall integration and implementation of the Protocol Establishing the East African Community (EAC) Common Market .

The Common Market Protocol was adopted in 2009 and entered into force on July 1, 2010, with the aim of stimulating the growth of the EAC through the free movement of goods, services, labor and capital.

Its introduction five years after the first pillar, the customs union (2005), required that it combine the economies of the region, create opportunities for the private sector and increase competitiveness.

Thomas Dut, Speaker of the South Sudan Section of the East African Legislative Assembly, said he has shed light on the business community on the achievements, challenges and what needs to be done for the achievement of a fully functioning common market.

“We are sensitizing and emphasizing them on the importance of this pillar, the transmission and the benefits and in return, we expected a response from them on the challenges of implementing this pillar”,

Dut said he has an important role to play in strengthening the Common Market to boost his business sector.

“We would like to strengthen business between the member state and in this regard; it has elements to facilitate this process,” he said.

He said South Sudan has a lot to gain from this new development which includes free goods, services, labor and capital in the region.

“We talked about the free movement of goods and people. Free movement of labor and capital, and when I say capital, I mean resources or money between member states,” he said.

Lado Lukak Legge, vice president of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, said Kenyan and Ugandan authorities were overcharging South Sudanese traders.

“They (Ugandan and Kenyan authorities) overcharge our traders who bring goods into South Sudan. We still face many challenges despite being members of the East African Community,” he said.

“We would like you, the legislators representing the East African Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, to take up the challenges we are facing. We do not export anything outside of our country, we only import food products from East Africa and they are the ones who benefit,” he added.