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9th November 2016- The Chairman of the Kissala Legislative Council Mohamed Third Suleiman welcomed the mission and indicated that the meeting comprised of all political parties and selected members of government departments. He called for open discussions and engagement.
The General Secretary of the Council, Tahar Jaffer in extending the invitation, highlighted that the state legislature has the same functions as the federal- making laws, monitoring implementation of laws and regulations. He mentioned that they have annual reports on the council business, and gave an example of a major law agreed upon by council (the law on human trafficking control which led to constitution changes to now conform with the federal constitution. He also mentioned a new law established to protect livestock owners from ransom). He went on to highlight that women participation is key and the Council deputy is a woman Advocate. Three of the six committees have 50% women.
The Speaker of the Council, then went further to indicate that the state has all necessary laws but implementation remains very week. The various arms of state have not implemented these laws effectively. In inquiring on the reforms needed, Ibnoaf who led the mission emphasised that the state put in place mechanism for monitoring implementation of the laws – oversight function.
The deliberations then focused on effectiveness of the council.
On 9th November, chaired by the Chairperson of the Business Union, Mohamed Ahmed Said and attended by leaders of the Trade Chamber, Chamber of Industry, Women’s SMEs Association and the secretary to state cabinet, the APRM mission engaged the private sector in Kassala. In his opening remarks Prof. Marghani Ibnoaf, the Sudanese liaison highlighted the importance of the APRM for the private sector.
Meeting with Kassala Business Union
In his welcoming remarks, the Chairperson of the Business Union started off by emphasising that the Private Sector in the state is young and that most of the economic activities are in the middleman, agent services category. He highlighted that the greatest impediment to business is fees and levies, and the bureaucratic standards which include the technical procedures the state has out in place. Even more crucial he added is the problem of the need to comply with both Federal an State laws which often conflict. He expounded indicating that he relationship between federal and state especially in the Agriculture sector is prohibitively restrictive for business. He gave the example that although the state produces all the citrus and vegetable in Sudan, water is becoming critical factor now. The Chair of the Chamber of Industry added that the three major challenges to business are; scarcity of land (hoarding by tribes); poor exchange rate pushing business to parallel market; and finally prohibition of Toyota Trucks on claims that it is used by rebels. The trucks are critical for transportation.
In addressing the challenges members of the ministerial chamber indicated that they are collaborating with the federal chamber to address these challenges. This is embodied in the Investment Encouragement Act. The state has issued 11 – 15 licences to different industries for manufacturing in the state. These are positive steps. But the major constraint to industry remains that of limited domestic and foreign markets he said. The challenge he said is compounded by the sanctions conditions.
There is need for the state to rethink the business environment and the APRM process has provided that opportunity concluded Mirghani.