EAC leaders to discuss secretariat financing

Heads of State of the East African Community convene in Arusha, Tanzania, tomorrow, to explore possible alternatives of financing the bloc’s Secretariat and projects, an official has said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is welcomed by EALA members at Parliament last year. File.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is welcomed by EALA members at Parliament last year. File.

Heads of State of the East African Community convene in Arusha, Tanzania, tomorrow, to explore possible alternatives of financing the bloc’s Secretariat and projects, an official has said.

The Heads of State will be meeting for their 12th extra ordinary summit.

Jacqueline Muhongayire, the minister for EAC affairs, said the idea is aimed at finding ways of funding EAC activities without depending on external financing.

“We need to have an independent way of financing our projects and its one of the issues to be discussed by the Heads of State this week,” the minister said by telephone from Arusha.

She said the Secretariat was tasked to propose a financing mechanism including the option of one percent tax on imports from outside the Community.

“More proposed mechanisms will be discussed in order to have a financing solidarity and equity,” she added.

Last year, the Council of Ministers approved a total budget of over $140 million allocated to different organs and institutions of the community.

Challenges

Out of the total budget, partner states contributed just over $37.2 million with the rest coming from external development partners.

According to experts, lack of financial independence has hugely led to the lax implementation of some proposed projects within the Community since the partner States have to wait for the donor money.

Research conducted by the Secretariat indicates that if only one per cent was levied on external imports, the Community would fetch more than $134 million.

The regional institutions that consume the biggest budget include EAC Secretariat, East African Legislative Assembly, and East African Court of Justice.

Others are Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Inter-university Council for East Africa and Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation.

Political Federation

Also on the agenda tomorrow is the revised model structure for the envisaged EAC Political Federation and action plan, the forth pillar for the integration process.

The integration stages are the Common Market, Customs Union, Monetary Union and Political Federation that will see member states having one government.

The Common Market is being implemented with people reaping its benefits; the Single custom Union as well as Monetary Union Protocol were signed but implementation is yet to be effected.

The most critical stage is the political federation. 

 According to the model proposed earlier by experts, the five partner states will have one federal government that will possess the supremacy to the constituent states.

The Federal State would be responsible for defined federal matters, while the Constituent State would remain autonomous on matters that do not fall within the Federal competence.

It is envisaged that the EAC Federal State will be composed of a Federal Executive, Federal Legislature and a Federal Judiciary, with functions based on the principle of separation of powers between the three organs.

 

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