EALA to debate Bill on risk reduction, management next week

23Jan 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
EALA to debate Bill on risk reduction, management next week

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is next week expected to hold its sitting in Arusha, official said yesterday.

Speaker Daniel Kidega.

According to EALA's spokesperson Bob Odiko, the Forth Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Third Assembly will take place between January 24 and February 5, 2016, and will be presided over by the Speaker Daniel Kidega.

"Top on the agenda during the two-week period is debate on the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, 2013, as well as reports emanating from various committees following deliberations with key stakeholders in the integration process," Odiko said.

He said the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, 2013 is aimed at providing a legal framework at regional and national level for timely intervention in disaster situations and to protect the people and the natural environment affected by disaster through comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management.

The official said the Bill, which was due for the third reading at the 4th meeting of the 2nd Session in Kampala, Uganda, in January 2014, was adjourned following a request by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, citing the need to consult relevant provisions of the Treaty and to allow for pursuit of the ratification of the EAC Protocol on Peace and Security.

"The said Protocol, among other objectives, provides for co-operation in DRR management and crisis response," he said.

Earlier in August 2013, the EAC Council of Ministers moved a motion seeking to take over the Bill from the original mover, Patricia Hajabakiga, make appropriate amendments and initiate its reintroduction as a Council of Ministers’ Bill. The move was preceded by a sitting of the Sectoral Council on Environment to give policy direction to the Bill.

The issue of the humanitarian situation in the Republic of Burundi is also expected to be a matter of discussions at EALA should the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee complete and present its Report on the Petition by the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU) concerning the political situation in Burundi.

Last week, the committee held a public hearing workshop in Arusha where it listened to the PALU petition, as well as to the contributions by other stakeholders comprising the representatives of Civil Society Organisations and the opposition parties in Burundi.

The committee is expected to listen to representatives of the government of Burundi on January 25, 2016, who requested to be considered to appear before it after January 18, 2016. Thereafter, it will retreat to prepare its report to the Assembly for debate.

The House is further expected to consider a report of the General Purpose Committee on a petition on work and residence permits supplicated by the East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) and the East African Employers Organisation (EAEO). The petition amongst other things, states the desire of workers and employers to see the Common Market Protocol fully implemented to enhance productivity.

In March 2015, the EATUC/EAEO presented a petition to the Speaker of EALA in which it made 17 prayers including the harmonization of the standards and processes of acquiring permits as well as the future amendment of annex 2 of the Common Market Protocol to put in place a roadmap for free movement of workers.
The petitioners further call for standardization of the processes of issuance of work permits, pending their eventual removal in the long run. The General Purpose Committee has since met with the employers and prepared its report which is to be debated by the House.

The House will also receive and debate on the report of the Committee on General Purpose on the EAC Annual Report as well as a Report of the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges on a resolution moved under Rule 30 (J) of the Assembly Rules of Procedure on a matter of privileges arising from a threat of tenure of office members.

EALA sittings are held under the principle of rotation in line with Article 55 of the EAC Treaty. EALA held its last sitting in November 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda.