Ministers responsible for East African Community affairs on Saturday approved an institutional reform plan that will see the six-member bloc save up to $2.5 million, annually in staff salaries.
The reforms were approved during an extraordinary meeting at the end of a week-long 30th Meeting of the Sectorial Council of Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning (SCMEACP), held at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
One of the last items discussed and adopted on Saturday in the extraordinary meeting chaired by Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda's Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, was the report of the Ad Hoc EAC Service Commission on the institutional reform [on workload analysis and job evaluation] of organs and institutions of the bloc.
The EAC has for years been grappling with, among other issues, recruitment issues and the lack of a rational recruitment policy often caused turbulence.
“The institutional reform of the Community has been in the pipeline for almost a decade and we, yesterday [Saturday], agreed to have a reform of the structure of organs and institutions of the Community,” Nduhungirehe told The New Times on Sunday.
EAC Council of Ministers pose for a photo after a meeting in Arusha over the weekend. / Courtesy
According to the Minister, once the new plan is implemented, job positions will fall from 529 to 402 for all organs and institutions of the EAC.
Among others, the Ministers’ decision now means they have implemented the decision of the EAC Summit held in Kampala, Uganda last year when regional leaders requested that the number Deputy Secretary Generals be reduced from four to two.
Nduhungirehe said: “Now we will have two DSGs. And those two will share the responsibilities along the four pillars of integration of the Community; meaning that the first DSG will be in charge of the Customs Union and the Common Market and the other one will be in charge of Monetary Union and Political Federation.”
“We will no more have a Director-General in charge of Trade and Customs but we will have a Director-General in charge of Corporate Services.”
“This is a comprehensive overhaul of the structure of the community in order to make it more efficient.”
Roadmap of implementation
Nduhungirehe explained that they tasked the EAC Service Commission to present a roadmap of implementation of this decision to the next Council of Ministers meeting which is scheduled at the end of November.
“Another important issue is that this reform will save $2.5 million annually.”
The landmark work-load analysis and job evaluation exercise conducted by experts from the six countries begun in March 2018.
The aim was to, among others, create a new flexible and decentralized organizational structure for the Community that allows speedy decision-making using fewer resources.
Saturday’s decision also comes handy after the Ministers, earlier, on Friday resolved to accelerate a proposal to find an alternative financing mechanism. The latter is seen as a sure way to pull the six-member bloc out of its financial hole.