EDITORIAL: Financing the EAC should be each member state’s priority

For any regional economic bloc to be successful, each member state needs to fulfil its obligations.

One of the most important fundamental principles that have to be honoured is fulfilling their financial obligations.

It is no different with the East African Community (EAC) which has been cash-strapped from day one. Sometime last year, it had to raid its reserve fund in order to pay salaries.

While some countries could be blamed for delaying to pay their remittances, the whole funding structure of the organisation is nothing to be proud of.

At a time when the African Union has taken firm steps to finance its operations by itself, the EAC seems to be comfortable with having the international community finance more than half of its budget.

In the last financial year, each country’s contribution was around $8 million. So, when one sees a leaked letter doing the rounds on social media billing one member state over $24 million, it is not difficult to see why the organisation is always in financial deep waters.

The above is three years of arrears, and other member states could also be in the same situation.

There is no way the EAC will fulfil its mandate if it does not stamp its feet with authority. In the past, there have been threats of sanctions against defaulting states, but it has remained just that, threats.

When the Heads of State Summit takes place in Arusha next week, financial contributions should be on top of the agenda. Otherwise, regional integration is being built on a shaky foundation.