MINISTERS of Justice and Attorneys General of Comesa member states have approved legal instruments to establish the Council of Yellow Card Offices as a full-fledged regional institution within the bloc.
Among the instruments approved following the crucial Wednesday meeting, which was held virtually, were the Charter for offices, staff and purchasing rules.
In an update after the meeting, Comesa’s head of corporate communications, Mr. Mwangi Gakunga, said ministers and GAs are committed to ensuring the domestication and implementation of all decisions issued. to Member States from time to time.
Through the publication of its legal instruments, he declared that the Council of Bureaux seeks to establish itself as a full-fledged institution of Comesa which will ultimately be independent from the Comesa secretariat in operational terms.
The offices manage the yellow card, which is a regional third-party motor insurance scheme, which facilitates the movement of vehicles, goods, people and services in the Comesa region.
Currently, the program is operational in 13 regional countries and has grown exponentially over the years.
âIn 2020, more than 208,165 digital yellow cards were issued to on-the-go motorists, generating a total annual premium income of $ 12.3 million. Over US $ 1.1 million in compensation has been paid to victims of traffic accidents caused by visiting / foreign motorists, âsaid Mr. Gakunga.
âOne of the remarkable instruments is the ratification of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA), which brings together the Member States / partners of Comesa, the East African Community (EAC) and the Development Community of Southern Africa (SADC).
The ZLET was launched in 2015 and to date only 10 instruments of ratification have been prepared and submitted against a minimum threshold of 14 ratifications to enter into force.
These are Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Eswatini, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. Some of the other Member States / Partners have ratified the AfCTA but not the TFTA.
âJust as we have been successful in securing overwhelming continental instruments of ratification for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, may I encourage Member States that have not yet ratified the Tripartite Agreement to do so, as the delay to do so blocks regional trade, investment and development, âsaid Zambian Minister of Trade, Trade and Industry, Chipoka Mulenga.
âComesa is in the era of implementing a digital economy in the region and to be successful, it needs the support of ministers of justice and attorneys general to develop supporting legislation that will create an enabling environment to the full implementation of the digital economy. “
The Secretary General, Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe, also underlined the need for the implementation of legal instruments for an effective integration of the programs of the Comesa region, the harmonization of
policies and procedures.
âI strongly urge Comesa member states present at today’s meeting that have not yet ratified the Tripartite Agreement to firmly commit to doing so during the last quarter of 2021 to enable the Tripartite to become operational in 2022, âshe said.
The presiding judge of the Comesa Court of Justice, Lombe Chibesakunda, also addressed the meeting, highlighting its operations and challenges in the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Comesa is a regional economic community created in 1994. It brings together 21 African member states with a population of 583 million inhabitants in a cooperative framework for sustainable economic growth and prosperity through regional integration.