The East African Community’s annual budget has dropped by over $15 million (about Rwf10bn) from $126 million in the previous year to $110 million in the coming financial year.
The sharp decline can be attributed to a drop in contributions by development partners, from about $75 million in the previous year to slightly over $58 million this year.
The EAC budget is financed mostly through contributions from partner states, development partner support and other sources, including general reserve.
The budget was approved on Thursday following debate by members of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) alongside the EAC Appropriation Bill that authorises expenditure for the specified amount of money for the services and purposes of the community for the financial year 2015/16.
According to a statement from the regional assembly, the EAC Secretariat will take the lion’s share (about $69 million), while EALA and the East African Court of Justice receive $16.5 million and $4.3 million, respectively.
Other entities to receive funds from the budget include Inter-University Council for East Africa, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, and East African Science and Technology Commission.
Others are East African Kiswahili Commission, East African Health Research Commission and the community’s newest entity East African Competition Authority.
“The EAC political federation is also a key priority area on the agenda in the coming financial year as the mode of the regional constitution making process commences,” the Secretariat said in a statement.
Prior to the budget’s approval, Martin Ngoga (Rwanda), highlighted the need to increase the allocation for the East African Court of Justice following broadening of its mandate.
EACJ’s mandate has recently widened to cover trade and investment as well as matters associated with the establishment of the monetary union following endorsement by EAC heads of state in February.
Uganda’s representative Susan Nakawuki said the Directorate of Productive and Social Sectors remained largely underfunded.
“The allocated amount in budget is miserable. If you look at agriculture and food security, much is said but what is provided for in the medium-term expenditure framework is the opposite. This sector touches on the very hearts of East Africans. I beg the Chair of Council to look for more funds for this sector,” Nakawuki said.
The budget’s approval follows a report presented by the Purpose Committee, this week, which, among others, called for more use of video-conferencing to ease the burden of foreign travels.