EAC presents $111m budget

The East African Community budget was presented to East African Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. / Courtesy

The East African Community budget was presented to East African Legislative Assembly on Wednesday afternoon with the bloc planning on spending $111,450,529, up from the current budget of $99,770,716.

The budget was presented by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Damas Ndumbaro, of Tanzania.

The 2019/2020 budget is themed, “Transforming lives through industrialisation and job creation for shared prosperity. 

Planned priority interventions include the consolidation of the Single Customs Territory and promotion of intra and extra EAC trade and export competitiveness, development of regional infrastructure, effective implementation of the Common Market Protocol, and the enhancement of regional industrial development.

Under the proposal, the secretariat will receive over $53.3m, East African Legislative Assembly $18.9m, and the East African Court of Justice $4.2m.

The Inter-University Council for East Africa will receive $9.6m, Lake Victoria Basin Commission $13m, while $4.1m is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation. 

East African Science and Technology Commission will receive $1.9m, East African Kiswahili Commission $1.5m, while the East African Health Research Commission is set to receive $4m.

The 2019/2020 budget is to be financed by Partner State contributions through the Ministries in charge of EAC Affairs  at a tune of $49.8m, while ministries responsible for Education will contribute $4.4m, and ministries responsible for Fisheries $2m.

Development Partners will support the Community to the tune of $54m, while member universities will inject into the kitty $468,300.

With donors and development partners funding close to half the budget, financial liquidity issues and self-financing ambitions continue to fall short. The largest donors include Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, DfID-UK, European Union, World Bank and Norway.

Financial challenges are not a new concern for the East African Community. Over the recent years, complaints by the secretariat on inability to conduct their affairs due to lack of finances has become common.

In a retreat held in Kigali in April this year, the secretariat continued to decry severe liquidity issues caused by lack of and late disbursements by partner states.

For instance, as of January 30, 2019, contributions by Partner States toward the EAC main budget stood at 45 per cent, and several activities have been postponed due to lack of funds.

Identifying alternative sustainable financing mechanisms for the Community has been under consideration for several years now with little progress.