The East African Community (EAC) has presented Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2016/2017 totalling $101, price http://chelseamamma.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/mobile-push.php 374, physician 589 to the East African Legislative Assembly sitting in Arusha.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, cheapest Hon Dr Susan Kolimba on Thursday presented the Budget speech to an attentive House on behalf of the substantive Minister and Chair of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon Dr. Augustine Mahiga.
The 2016/2017 Budget is a drop down from $110,660,098 Million presented to the House in the previous Financial Year.
Regional leaders including Tanzanian President John Magufuli recently warned EAC against extravagance.
Magufuli said the budget for the regional body must be chopped and funds channelled to social programmes.
Officials said the Budget prioritizes the full implementation of the EAC Single Customs Territory, enhanced implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol especially additional commitments; interconnectivity of border immigration systems and procedures across Partner States; and enhancement of productivity and value addition in key productive sectors.
“The budget also takes cognisance of development of cross-border infrastructure and harmonisation of laws, policies and standards in respective sub-sectors, implementation of a liberalised EAC airspace, enhanced implementation a One Area Network in telecommunications and the implementation of EAC Peace and Security initiatives,” EAC said in a statement.
According to the Minister, other key specific priorities are strengthening of the legal and judicial systems, enhancement of Information, Communication and Education to promote popular participation of the citizenry in the EAC integration process and promotion of education, science and technology for creative and productive human resources.
The Chair of Council termed the establishment of a policy framework and institutional structures for establishment of the EAC Political Federation as another key priority area in the coming financial year.
The Budget is allocated to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC as follows; East African Community Secretariat ($57, 872, 785), East African Legislative Assembly ($16,034,324) and the East African Court of Justice ($4,286,477).
The Inter-University Council for East Africa shall receive ($4,553,890), Lake Victoria Basin Commission ($11,214,708) while $ 2,131,422 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization.
On their part, the East African Science and Technology Commission shall receive ($ 1,161,438), East African Kiswahili Commission ($ 1,134,542) and the East African Health Research Commission ($ 1,397,438). The East African Competition Authority is to benefit from $587,565 in the Financial Year.
The 2016/2017 Budget is to be financed by Partner State contributions ($47,565,377) compared to USD 47 566,973 in the current Financial Year; Development Partners support ($46,717,601) which is a significant drop from USD 58,555,635 of the previous year
The Member Universities will inject USD 431, 923, General Reserves USD 6, 354, 248 and miscellaneous revenue USD 305, 440.
Officials emphasised that the EAC Political Federation is yet a key priority area on the agenda in the coming Financial Year as the mode of the regional Constitution making process commences.
The same applies to strengthening of regional and international relations through mobilisation of Partner States’ diplomatic missions and the East African Diaspora for effective participation in EAC integration processes and building of multilateral/international networks in pursuit of EAC objectives.
Kolimba highlighted a number of achievements registered in the Financial Year 2015/2016, notably, the upscaling of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) through finalisation of operational instruments of the business manuals, deployment of SCT Monitoring and Evaluation tools and deployment of staff in some Partner States.
The Minister remarked that 10 out of the 15 One Stop Border Posts were already operational.
The chair of the Council of Ministers further stated that the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill (NTB), 2015 passed by EALA was undergoing assent and would spur business and enhance the free movement aspects.
The Minister told the House that National Monitoring Committees on NTBs and the EAC Regional Forum on NTBs had continued to spearhead the elimination of NTBs affecting Intra-EAC trade.
According to the Minister, the Council of Ministers further appointed Commissioners to the EAC Competition Authority.
“The Authority is set to commence operations in the financial year 2016/17 and it will act as a one stop centre in the enforcement of provisions of the EAC Competition Act. The Secretariat has finalized preparations for the operationalisation of the East African Competition Authority”, the Minister said.
In order to strengthen the Monetary Union, the Minister said draft Bills for the establishment of the East African Monetary Institute and the East African Statistics Bureau were been developed and negotiated by the Partner States.
The Minister informed the House that in a bid to harmonise tax regimes, the EAC Secretariat had continued with efforts for closer co-ordination of fiscal policies with focus on critical areas for harmonisation.
“So far, domestic Tax Harmonization Policy has been drafted by the Secretariat and is being peer reviewed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before submission to the relevant Organs of the Community for consideration,” said Kolimba.
Under Infrastructure development, the Minister informed the House of on-going construction works especially on the Northern Corridor.
The Minister said the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi road project and the second multinational road projects in the region had commenced.
“In addition, the Secretariat signed a grant agreement amounting to US$ 2.68 million in November 2014 with the AfDB through the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) for the feasibility studies and detailed designs of two key links for the Republics of Rwanda and Burundi to the Central Corridor. These are the 250km long Nyakanazi – Kasulu – Manyovu road in Tanzania linking to the 78km long Rumonge –Bujumbura road in Burundi, and the 92km long Lusahunga – Rusumo road in Tanzania linking to the 70km long Kayonza – Kigali road in Rwanda”, the Minister said.
Hon Dr Kolimba further remarked that progress with regards to the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge railway stood at approximately 70% as at March 2016.
On Industrialisation and SMEs Development, the Chair of Council said that the EAC had developed a draft Industrialisation Bill and that it was awaiting legal scrubbing and input before it is presented to the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for consideration.
Within the Energy Sector, the Minister informed an attentive House that implementation of power projects under the East African Power Master Plan had resulted in the addition of 425 MW over the last two years raising the region’s installed capacity from 4,468 MW to 4,893 MW against a peak demand for 3,326 MW for the inter-connected system last year.
On health matters, the Minister informed the House of progress in promotion of integration of health sector and interventions to address challenges facing the sector in line with Article 118 of the Treaty.
“Mr. Speaker, in order to strengthen human resource for health and ensure right skills and knowledge is provided by the various public and private sector universities and other institutions of higher learning in the fields of medicine, medical laboratory sciences, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and other health professions, regular joint inspections have been conducted by EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the EAC Partner States’ National Health Professional Boards and Council using regional guidelines and checklists developed for the inspection and mutual reciprocal recognition”, the Minister said.
Regarding the Common Market, the Chair of Council said the region was keen to ensure implementation of the Protocol.
“Mr. Speaker, this August House may be pleased to note that during the 17th Ordinary Sitting of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, the new International East African Electronic Passport was launched. The East African e-Passport represents; the ordinary; official/service and diplomatic Passports. The introduction of the new e-Passport is a milestone that will see our Partner States join global initiatives where over 100 countries are implementing the electronic passports”, the Minister said.
“The Partner States are expected to issue the new international EA e- passport in to their citizens in January 2017 and make necessary arrangements with relevant authorities to implement the passport,” she added.
The Minister observed that consultations with stakeholders in the employment subsector such as the East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) and Employers’ Associations have been undertaken on the process of harmonization of the work/residence permit fees pursuant to Regulation 6(9) of the East African Common Market (Free Movement of Workers) Regulations Annex II and regulation 6(5) of the East African Community Common Market (Right of Residence) Regulations.
On matters of political affairs, the Minister informed the House of steps been taken to lay ground for political integration.
The 31st Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers in May 2015, the Minister said, established a Sub-Committee of Ministers Responsible for EAC Affairs to consider the concept note, Terms of Reference (ToRs); Roadmap for the Constitution Making Process, and; to determine the Model of the EAC Political Federation for consideration.
The Sub-Committee met in February 2016 and made a report to the Council on the basis of which the Council reported to the 17th Ordinary Meeting of the Summit.
The report was to the effect that the Partner States had generated convergence on a Confederation as the Model of the East African Federation.