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EALA Passes $100m Budget Amid Calls for Frugality

Hon Dr Susan Kolimba, Chair of the Council of Ministers responds to questions from Members

The East African Legislative Assembly late Friday debated and passed the 2016/17 Budget totaling $101, medical http://cloudninerealtime.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-press-this.php 374, information pills http://cyclopeperu.com/wp-includes/class-wp-term.php 589 with amendments following reallocations, page Chimp Corps report.

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Hon Dr Susan Kolimba 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.

The Budget themed, ‘Towards Full Implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol and Enhancing the Implementation of the Monetary Union Protocol’, prioritizes the full implementation of the EAC Single Customs Territory, enhanced implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol especially additional commitments and interconnectivity of border immigration systems.

Prior to passing of the Budget, the Assembly resolved itself into a Committee of Ways and means to consider the Financial Statement for 2016/7 and a similar Committee of Supply to approve the Estimates of Expenditure for the same.

With it, the Assembly also passed the East African Community Appropriation Bill, 2016.

Regional leaders including President Paul Kagame and John Pombe Magufuli have previously cautioned EAC against wastefulness.

Magufuli this year said the regional body must find ways of trimming costs to allow partner states channel a portion of EAC’s budget to development programmes.

Debate of the Budget Speech was preceded by the presentation of the Committee on General Purpose on the EAC Budget Estimates for Revenue and Expenditure for the Financial Year 2016/17 by the Committee’s Chairperson, Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo late Wednesday.

The Report indicates that the Community would focus on a number of areas in the coming Financial Year including the full implementation of the Single Customs Territory, as well as the enhanced implementation of the Common market Protocol.  Other key priority areas are development of infrastructure, institutional strengthening and the implementation of EAC Peace and Security initiatives.

Finance

In reviewing its recommendations, the Committee once again emphasises the efficient use of Community resources and the proper delimitation of the role and responsibilities of the finance and advisory committee.

With it comes the need to align the budget with the EAC objectives and its strategic objectives.

On the size of the budget, the Committee noted the downward trend over the last three years against a number of programmes and projects of the Community.

It thus recommends for the Council of Ministers to “look seriously into the issue of inadequate funding, allow it (the Committee) to hold deliberations with the Council on sustainable funding as well as proposals for strong legislative and institutional support for the Common Market and the Monetary Union stages.”

The Assembly said Partner States must desist from using the General reserves as a source of funds to substitute remittances, a move it termed as a high risk in terms of liquidity on the one side and that of litigation on the other.

On IT systems, the Assembly acknowledged the technological advancements taking place and observed that the Budget Management System has created challenges  in terms of inflexible budget descriptions and objectives that are not aligned to departments.

It thus recommends for an IT systems audit to determine the strength and full proof status.

There is also need to review the EAC Budget Act, 2008 according to the Committee to enable the budget process to be made “more effective, transparent and based on a legal framework.”

The report also took an analysis of a number of offices at the EAC and Organs and Institutions

Breakdown

Following reallocations by the House, the Budget is allocated to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC as follows; East African Community Secretariat ($57, 741, 185), East African Legislative Assembly ($16,086,224) 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 ($ 1,196,542), East African Kiswahili Commission ($ 1,179,542) and the East African Health Research Commission ($ 1,397,438).

The East African Competition Authority is to benefit from $ 1,587,565 in the Financial Year.

The Report noted some of the successes 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.

It cited the passage of the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill (NTB), 2015 which is undergoing assent as key towards enhancing business and the free movement aspects.

At the same time, formation of the National Monitoring Committees on NTBs and the EAC Regional Forum on NTBs has continued to spearhead the elimination of NTBs affecting Intra-EAC trade.

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