EAC Secretary General visits LVBC Secretariat, Busia and Malaba border posts
5/11/2012 6:20:01 PM -
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, has encouraged teamwork as the basis of achieving desired results at the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC). In his address to staff at the LVBC Secretariat on 9 May 2012, Amb. Sezibera encouraged better coordination and communication in order to meet the enormous challenges the Lake Victoria Basin faces.
Amb. Sezibera called the Lake Victoria Basin 'a natural springboard for East African integration', adding that the Commission had 'no leeway to fail' in the implementation of its projects and programmes.
Amb. Sezibera made the remarks after receiving briefings on the LVBC and its activities, including the ongoing projects and programmes: the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project Phase II (LVEMP II); the Lake Victoria Water Supply and Sanitation Programme Phase II (LVWATSAN II); the Mount Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP); the East African Community/AMREF Lake Victoria Partnership (EALP) Programme on HIV&AIDS; the Maritime Communication and Safety on Lake Victoria (MCSLV) Project; and the Trans-boundary Water for Biodiversity and Human Health in the Mara River Basin (TWBHH-MRB) Project. He also held an interactive session with LVBC staff to listen to their concerns and appreciate current challenges of the institution.
On Thursday afternoon the Secretary General paid working visits to the Busia and Malaba border posts along the Kenya/Uganda border where he interacted with the Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority, Mr. John Njiraini; the KRA Board of Directors and Customs officials from the two EAC Partner States (Kenya and Uganda).
Here the Secretary General emphasized the importance of the two border posts in promoting intra-regional trade, and highlighted the need for an integrated working relationship among the border agencies to facilitate the smooth flow of trade and travel for East Africans.
During the meetings, Amb. Sezibera was apprised of initiatives being undertaken to facilitate trade between country and country and intra-region, such as the simplified rules of origin certificate as well as joint verification of goods and increased sharing of information among customs agencies.
Some of these initiatives, the Secretary General learnt, represent a limited application of the One Stop Border Post concept which aims to improve traffic flows and clearance procedures at border posts across the region.
Earlier, Amb. Sezibera paid a courtesy call on the Provincial Commissioner for Nyanza Province, Mr. Francis Mutie where the two held discussions that focused on making Lake Victoria more productive while ensuring it is sustainably exploited at the same time.
The Secretary General reiterated the important role local authorities have to play in fostering integration, saying: 'Local governments are critical for the integration agenda. If you don't embrace it we shall all fail.'
Today Amb. Sezibera will visit selected field intervention sites of MERECP and LVWATSAN II in Uganda. The Secretary General will be able to meet and interact with project officials as well as members of the grassroots communities living inside or near the selected sites.
On Saturday, the Secretary General winds up his tour with a visit to the Jinja-based Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) and various other establishments in the area. The LVFO is one of the institutions of the EAC.