The task force negotiating the draft East African Monetary Union Protocol has been urged to use the latest round of negotiations to resolve outstanding issues and to move with greater speed to ensure an agreement is reached before the end of this year.
"I urge all Partner State delegates in the course of these negotiations, to do their utmost to build consensus quickly," said Dr Enos Bukuku, EAC deputy secretary general (in-charge of Planning and Infrastructure).
The deputy secretary general made the call here on Monday when opening the regional monetary union talks.
In a speech read on his behalf by EAC's Director for Planning, Tharcisse Kadede, the EAC senior official asserted that the negotiations, now in their eighth round, could not afford to defer any more matters if the bloc was to achieve its 2012 target for concluding the Monetary Union Protocol.
"Our people, energised by the benefits out of the Customs Union and the Common Market, are more than ready to embark on reducing the cost of doing business by attaining a monetary union," Dr Bukuku remarked.
"I am therefore obliged to remind you that many East Africans within and beyond the region, anxiously await any insights from this meeting on what needs to be done right to make monetary integration work for the EAC."
The six-day meeting has been convened to discuss outstanding matters from previous meetings of the High Level Task Force negotiating the draft Protocol, as well as to deliberate on Articles 60 - 72 of the same, broadly touching on financial arrangements, integrated financial management system and transitional arrangements.
Dr Bukuku said the draft Articles up for discussion this week are particularly critical because they underpin the integration of the financial sector, which integration will be a key enabler for the monetary union.
The HLTF comprises senior officials from the Partner States’ Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, East African Community Affairs, as well as Central Banks, Capital Markets Authorities, Insurance and Pensions Regulatory Agencies, and National Statistics Offices.
Previous rounds of negotiations deliberated on provisions touching on, among others, the scope of the monetary union, macroeconomic policy framework, monetary policy framework, exchange rate policy and exchange rate mechanism and instruments of monetary control. The negotiations commenced in January 2011.