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EAC Announce $124m Budget, Eyes Monetary Union

EAC_Presidents_in_Arusha_on_Sunday_391250124

help http://cellar433.com/wp-includes/registration.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>Hon Dr. Abdallah Sadala Abdallah, dosage Deputy Minister for EAC, http://cprescue.com/wp-content/plugins/events-manager/em-actions.php Tanzania on Thursday presented the Budget Speech on behalf of the Chair of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon Phyllis J. Kandie to an attentive House.

The 2014/2015 Budget down from $130 Million in the previous Financial Year, prioritizes operationalisation of the single Customs Territory including the setting up of an institutional framework to manage it, the full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol with particular focus on free movement of goods, services, labour and capital as well as the implementation of the EAC Industrialisation policy.

Other key areas include development of cross-border infrastructure with particular focus on implementing decisions of the Summit Retreat, implementation of the roadmap towards the EAC Monetary Union, implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (COMESA-EAC-SADC) and the sensitisation of East Africans towards deepened East Africa integration.

Other areas are the implementation of the EAC Strategy on Regional Peace and Security and the implementation of activities under the Political Federation division.

The Budget is allocated to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC as follows; East African Community Secretariat ($76,074,052), East African Legislative Assembly ($15,489,836) and the East African Court of Justice ($4,582,190).

The Inter-University Council for East Africa shall receive ($ 9,411,320), Lake Victoria Basin Commission ($ 13,372,466) while $ 2,813,771 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation. For the first time, three new Institutions are also set to benefit. East African Science and Technology Commission shall receive ($ 679,821), East African Kiswahili Commission ($ 722,102) and the East African Health Research Commission ($ 924,067).

The FY 2014/2014 Budget is to be financed by Partner State contributions through the Ministries of EAC ($41,890,538); Partner States through other agencies ($5,067,735); Development Partners support ($73,180,446); IUCEA-Member University ($ 375,190) Ministry of Education-IUCEA Headquarters $1,247,037), General Reserve ($ 2,102,828) and other income ($205,850).

Hon Dr. Abdallah highlighted a number of achievements registered in the FY 2013/2014, notably the commencement of the Single Customs Territory which has led to among others, the significant reduction of clearance time from Mombasa to Kampala and Kigali.

Hon Dr. Abdallah noted that the EAC Secretariat had developed a Special Economic Zone policy as envisaged under Articles 75 and 76 to boost trade and remarked that substantial progress had been made with regards to the finalisation of the EAC-Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) Negotiations.

On the Common Market, the Chair remarked that the EAC Common Market Scorecard 2014 launched in February 2014 was a key tool in the implementation of the Protocol.

“The Scorecard should be able to assist Partner States to identify areas of slow or limited progress and foster stronger peer learning to accelerate its implementation,” the Minister said.

He remarked that further amendments of the national laws to conform to the Common Market Protocol were envisaged for the next Financial Year. He noted that the Council of Ministers intends to introduce a Bill to the EALA to deal with challenges been witnessed with regards to implementation of the Protocol.


Integration


The Minister noted that the move towards deeper economic integration had gained impetus with the signing of the Monetary Union Protocol on November 30th, 2013.

Minister Abdallah said the EAC was gearing itself to the harmonisation of budget processes, harmonisation of tax policies, co-ordination of public debt management and the attainment of macro-economic convergence among others. He informed the House that the region would embark on the procurement, installation and implementation of the Capital Markets infrastructure as one of the key priorities for the next Financial Year.

Under Infrastructure development, the Minister noted the on-going works especially on the Northern Corridor. They include the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi road project and the Malindi-Mombasa-Lunga Lunga and Tanga-Bagamoyo road which is on schedule to be completed by June 2014.

The African Development Bank, Hon Dr Abdallah, states, has also agreed to support the Lusahunga-Rusumo and Kayonza- Kigali road and the Nyakanazi-Kasulu-Manyovu and Rumonge-Bujumbura road.

In the railways subsector, the Secretariat received about USD 1.7 Million from the African Development Bank for the Railways Sector Enhancement project while a baseline study on the maritime subsector is almost complete.

The Minister noted a number of initiatives in the civil aviation sub-sector aimed at sustainability of the lower EAC Airspace. In the productive sectors, the Minister revealed the steady progress towards the establishment of the East Africa Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency which he reported aims at providing a platform for sustainable energy in the region.

The implementation of the 16 megawatt Kikagati-Murongo hydropower project is however yet to fully take-off despite the interest of the Private Sector. In light of this aspect, Hon Dr Abdallah urged the United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda to expedite the bilateral agreement on the project to pave way for its implementation.

On industrialization and Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMEs), the Minister was categorical that both areas are critical areas that spur development in the region. He further noted that the region had finalised the review of legal and regulatory frameworks for mineral value addition in the region.

The Mineral policy shall focus on priority minerals including iron ore, coal and nickel-cobalt-copper among others. On environmental matters, the Minister noted that the region was committed to ratifying the Protocol on Environmental and Natural Resources. So far according to Hon Dr. Abdallah, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Kenya have ratified the Protocol.

Minister Dr. Abdallah thus reiterated the EAC’s desire to institutionalise joint participation in International Conventions and Treaties on Environment and Natural Resources.

“To implement the outcome of the Rio Summit on sustainable development: The Future We Want, we developed an EAC Post-Rio+20 Plan of Action with support from United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). Furthermore, EAC was accredited as an Observer to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” the Minister said.

Tourism


On tourism, the Minister was emphatic that the single tourism visa would play a key role in promoting the key sector.‘ Madam Speaker, the Community continues to promote EAC as a Single Tourist Destination abroad and regionally. This has been achieved by participating at the World Travel Market in London in November, 2013 and the International Tourism Fair in Berlin in March 2014’ he said.

He informed the August House that Partner States had agreed under the Principle of Variable Geometry to begin using the East African Tourist Visa.

“The Republics of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda launched the initiative in February this year. The Republic of Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania are expected to come on board as soon as they are ready,” he added.

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