Bill seeks to set up Commission to coordinate the development of the sector in the region
East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 11 February 2010: The East African Legislative Assembly today passed the East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill, 2008, after a thorough and marathon debate on the Bill by the Honourable Members during the second and third reading in the House, chaired by the EALA Speaker, Hon. Abdulrahin Haithar Abdi.
The private member’s Bill, moved by Hon. Safina Kwekwe Tsungu (Kenya), seeks to establish a cooperation framework in Tourism and Wildlife resources management. In effect, the Bill seeks to operationalize Articles 114, 115 and 116 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community which makes provision for establishing a framework for cooperation in natural resources management, including the management of tourism and wildlife.
According to Hon. Safina Kwekwe Tsungu, sustainable tourism development within the context of EAC necessitates deliberate and concerted common policies for the region, to guide the establishment of a co-operation framework that will guide and facilitate the actions of the respective governments, private, and civil society sectors.
Hon. Tsungu asserted that it was imperative therefore to charge this responsibility, through the relevant legislation, to a legally constituted framework that defines parameters to work out and coordinate the cooperation areas in this very important livelihood and income generating sector for the entire region.
Hon. Kate Kamba (United Republic of Tanzania) said the region was endowed with enormous natural resources, whose management is burdened by bureaucracy among the member countries. She said wild animals wander across borders and, therefore, it is imperative that the East African countries manage wildlife together. “We need a united policy to protect the wildlife and manage the transport sector, which is vital in the tourism industry,” she said.
Hon. Gervase Akhaabi (Kenya) said tourism provides a large proportion of employment and comparative management of the industry has an advantage to the region. “It is important that we recognise tourism as important in our agenda of improving the economic wellbeing of our people, which is a core objective for the Community,” he said.
Hon. Dr. George Francis Nangale (United Republic of Tanzania), chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources says the passing of the Bill is yet another milestone to EALA in its efforts to coordinate East African Partner States towards the management of the tourism industry in the region.
In the East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill, 2008, the Assembly proposes the establishment of a Commission to coordinate the development of the sector in the region. It also aims at harmonising national policies, laws, regulations and standards concerning tourism and wildlife management.
According to the Bill, a Commission to be known as the East African Tourism and Wildlife Management Commission shall be established and to be responsible for the overall supervision, coordination and management of all matters that relate to the promotion/marketing and development of the tourism and wildlife industry in the East African region. The Commission shall be accountable to the EAC Council of Ministers and its Headquarters shall be situated in such place as the Council of Ministers may determine.
The general objective of the Commission is to put in place a mechanism to mitigate the challenges facing the region’s tourism and wildlife industry which include high marketing costs, fierce competition and fragility of the region’s tourism base, while taking due consideration of the overall development needs of the people, the wildlife resources and other natural and cultural resources.
The organs of the Commission shall be a Board, Stakeholders’ Advisory Council, and a Secretariat.
The East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill, 2008 passed by EALA yesterday is to be submitted to the EAC Heads of State for assent in accordance with Article 62 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. The Article stipulates that the enactment of legislation of the Community shall be effected by means of Bills passed by the Assembly and assented to by the Heads of State, and every Bill that has been duly passed and assented to shall be styled an Act of the Community.
The Third meeting, Third Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly is currently taking place at the Chambers of the Parliament of Uganda in Kampala.