Kampala - A Tanzanian medical expert has called on African countries to emulate Rwanda to ensure vigorous implementation of policies for the benefit of the population.
Dr. Mark Bura, an Arusha based consultant in health, told reporters yesterday, that what matters most is to ensure that what EAC partner states have promised to do in their budgets are implemented to the expectations of the people.
All the five member-states of the East African Community, on Wednesday, presented their budgets to their respective parliaments.
“Governments should emulate Rwanda where senior government officials are taken to task if they fail to reach certain targets in project implementation,” he said.
Bura added that many East Africans are waiting to see the targets spelt out in the 2011/2012 budgetary plans fully implemented.
In the recent past, the rising food prices have been a major point of concern to a population of over 100 million people in the region who predominantly rely on agriculture.
The budget presented by Finance minister, John Rwangombwa, allocated Rwf 67.1 billion compared to Rwf 64.4 billion in 2010/11 financial year, indicating an increase of about 5%.
The Minister said that the money would among other objectives, support scaling-up of irrigation in both marshland and hillside to protect against soil erosion across the country to increase long-term farmer productivity.
His Tanzanian counterpart Mustafa Mkulo listed agriculture as one of his country’s major priorities alongside; electricity, water, infrastructure, and job creation.
The Minister announced a VAT exemption on spare parts for threshers, rice dryers and mills, planters, trailers and power tillers to be used in organised farming.
“It is my hope that this measure will promote agricultural mechanisation and attract investment in the agriculture sector,” he told members of the Tanzanian Parliament.
Kenya’s Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta allocated a cumulative Sh100 billion to promote agriculture to enhance food security, which will stem the spiralling food prices caused by production shortfalls.
Also, duty on maize, wheat and rice was cut to increase local supply and reduce prices.
“We all know the tough times we are facing following the new challenges stemming from rising international commodity prices, including fuel and drought-related concerns on food security,” Kenyatta said.
He added that there is need to take drastic measures to reduce, on a sustainable basis, the cost of living as well as assuring people of food security and employment going forward.
Uganda’s Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka removed all import duty on hoes and premixes for animal and poultry feeds, while cutting by more than half the same duties on food supplements.