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By Our Reporter

Civil Society Organisations in Uganda now want EALA to take a more defined role in ensuring negotiations leading to the Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TIPA) between the EAC and the United States of America are comprehensive and all-inclusive.

The CSOs are calling on EALA to monitor development and to request for updates on the TIPA negotiations from the concerned Ministries to ensure transparency and accountability are upheld.   This was revealed when CSOs under the aegis of the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)-Uganda petitioned the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa at the Parliament of Uganda earlier today.

SEATINI-Uganda are concerned that the negotiations are tilted in favour of the US with the power nation negotiating on the basis of 2012 USA Model bilateral Investment Treaty.   SEATINI Chief Executive Director and leader of the delegation, Ambassador Nathan Irumba maintains that the template is generally tailored to protect the US without addressing their obligations and the rights of the EAC countries.   ‘We need a template that is acceptable to all”, Ambassador Irumba stated.

Receiving the petition, the EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa reiterated there was need for a conducive environment to enable fair competition among investors of the region.   The Speaker added that the Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the Agreement presented a challenge to East Africans terming it out of reach.  ‘We need to address it as a matter of urgency’ Speaker Zziwa noted.