Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have called out the EAC Council of Ministers for “dragging its feet” when it comes to implementing the bulk of recommendations the House makes on matters pertaining to the region’s integration agenda. Lawmakers highlighted the concern Tuesday, February 15, during debate on the report of the Committee on Accounts on the audited accounts of the six-member bloc for the year ended June 30, 2019. The legislators are currently meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. MP Kennedy Kalonzo Musyoka (Kenya), who was not able to conclude his presentation end last year, eventually finished reading the 200-page report on Tuesday. Kalonzo said his committee observed “a low implementation of recommendations” made by the Assembly and the Audit Commission across the EAC organs, institutions and agencies. He said: “This is inspite of the Assembly’s recommendation that the Secretary General should produce a quarterly report to the Assembly on the status of the implementation. “As a result, a number of audit queries have continued to appear in the successive audit reports which underline weaknesses in EAC management’s efforts to adhere to the EAC financial rules and procedures, policies and resolutions.” Like other lawmakers, MP Fatuma Ndangiza (Rwanda) urged Council to seriously look into the Houses observations and recommendations so as “to ensure value for money.” Ndangiza said she does not understand why, up to now, a quarterly report on the status of implementation of recommendations is not being availed to the Assembly. “If we can do this in our partner states why should we fail to do it in the Community?” Ndangiza posed. The Committee is urging the Assembly to urge the Council of Ministers – which comprises Ministers form each partner state who are responsible for EAC Affairs – to put in place a proper mechanism which will enable the parliament to receive periodical reports on the status of implementation of its recommendations from the Council. Lawmakers also want the Council to periodically update EALA on the status of implementation of previous audit recommendations on a quarterly basis. MP Habib Mohamed Mnyaa (Tanzania) particularly asked why they were examining and debating the report after two years, instead of after six months. MP George Stephen Odongo (Uganda) said: “There is a huge variance between decision making and implementation. And this is a challenge. The level of implementation of the Council of Ministers’ directives is below 40 per cent. These reports have become a ritual. There are alot of gaps and Council needs to take up this matter seriously.” Issues highlighted in the report include delay in the conclusion of matters regarding the bloc’s alternative financing mechanism, perpetual delays in partner states remittances, as well as weak internal audit function of EAC. Lawmakers noted that it does not make sense for the House to debate the same issues, year in year out, without solutions being found. Last December, the Council announced that the proposal on a hybrid model for financing the bloc’s budget needs some more consultations. According to MP Francoise Uwumukiza (Rwanda), the impact of the non implementation of the Audit Commission as well as EALA recommendations by the Council of Ministers, include giving room to corruption in EAC. The House report also indicates that on the whole, EAC institutions, projects and programmes continue to face challenges of low budget absorption due to delayed or non-remittance of funds.