EALA Speaker addresses IPU Assembly in Bangladesh
…tells Parliamentarians to take “bull by the horns” in redressing inequalities
East African Legislative Assembly, Dhaka, Bangladesh: 3rd April 2017: EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Daniel Fred Kidega is calling on global Parliamentarians to pay more attention in ensuring promotion of economic stimulus programmes that address social challenges and support local value chains in a bid to narrow the widening poverty gaps and redress inequalities.
At the same time, Rt Hon Kidega says Parliaments should appropriate more resources in the States’ budgets to check on rising inequalities and hold Executive accountable on the same.
The Speaker was addressing the 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU) taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The annual event which is themed: Redressing inequalities: Delivering on dignity and well-being for all” brings together over 50 Speakers and 1400 legislators from the globe.
In his remarks, Rt Hon Kidega maintained that despite the emergence of BRIC countries and other economies as well as attempts to generate wealth, much more was needed to reduce the inequality and to raise the standards of living.
He said the East African Community region had similarly been gravely affected by inequalities. “The State of East Africa Report 2016 depicts not all citizens have seen or felt the benefits of increasing national GDP figures at the individual/family front. If anything, life continues to be harsher and harder. The economic boom has not generated the jobs as was expected, while levels of poverty and malnutrition remain high”, the Speaker said, while remaining optimistic the trend could be reversed.
The Speaker cited issues contributing to inequality as disparity in income levels throughout the world, uncertain political environments, the gender norms and stereotypes and the imbalance of economic power.
In many countries, Rt Hon Kidega said, fruits of economic development increasingly failed to reach those who deserve the same – instead benefitting companies, financial services and vested interests. He said the rate of unemployment in the globe was similarly high.
“Statistics in East Africa reveals that 7 out of the 10 persons you see walking in the streets are jobless, while another 6 out of 10 live in informal settlements. Yet, the largest population, the youth, constitute about 8 out of 10 persons and their age range is below 30 years”, Such is replicable in many parts of the globe”, he noted.
The Speaker called on Parliaments to enact relevant legislation to make greater impact. He informed the convention that EALA had legislated a number of pieces that protect society and address inequalities including; the EAC Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016, the EAC Gender, Equity and Equality Bill, 2016, the EAC Conflict Management Bill, 2011 and the EAC Human and Peoples Rights Act 2011.
“He further called for dialogue to resolve political issues saying politically instigated inequalities more often than not arise from disputed elections and uncertainties which result into conflicts and sometimes wars. The ramifications are sometimes too much to bear leading to refugee crises and instabilities in the nations”, Rt Hon Kidega said.
Analysts contend that Poverty reduction is often compromised by income inequality. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) urges poor and resource rich nations to simultaneously explore reduction of inequality and bolster long-term economic growth. However, inequality correlates to shorter spells of economic expansion and volatility to crises.
The 136th IPU was opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bangladesh, Hon Sheikh Hasina at the Parliament of Bangladesh yesterday. The Prime minister thanked delegates for electing Bangladesh as the chair of both Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The Prime minister mentioned her government’s short, medium and long-term initiatives for the development of the country and said the government is making stride to build the country in a planned way.
Parliamentarians are expected to make concrete proposals on a range of issues, from ending rising inequality to promoting women’s access to financing. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and children’s rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi addressed the congress calling on the globe to address factors associated with inequalities. He said the young people had now concerted their effort and were raising their voices.
“The 100 Million young people are prepared to make the world a better place. Let us not make them frustrated. They are the face of change and let us globalise human compassion”, he said.
The Emergency items include a call for urgent international action to save millions of people from famine and drought in parts of Africa and the Yemen jointly presented by the Republic of Kenya together with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Speaker of the Senate of Kenya, Rt Hon Ekwe Ethuro, presented the merged proposal to the Assembly yesterday.
“We need to request for international organisations to come to the aid of the affected nations. Without global action, people will simply starve to death”, the Speaker remarked.
The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga and the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt Hon Pascal Nyabenda also addressed the Assembly.
In attendance also are a delegation of the Parliament of Rwanda led by the Deputy Speaker and legislators from the Transitional Assembly of the Republic of South Sudan.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national Parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action. To that end, IPU fosters contacts, co-ordination, and the exchange of experience among Parliaments and Parliamentarians of all countries. IPU also contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights - an essential factor of Parliamentary democracy and development. EALA is an Associate Member of the IPU.
For more Information, contact:
Mr. Bobi Odiko,
Senior Public Relations Officer;
East African Legislative Assembly;
Tel: +255-27-2508240 Cell: +255 787 870945+254-733-718036