The construction of new East African Community (EAC) headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania will commence in the first quarter of next year, according to a report.
The revelation was made during the presentation of the EAC 2007 report to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) during its first sitting in Kampala on Tuesday.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) noted that the project has dragged on for too long with changing deadlines every year for the past four years now.
“The delay reflects lack of futuristic planning in the initial stages of the project design because the admission of Rwanda and Burundi into the EAC was not a secret but a fact well known by the Secretariat,” says a report by PAC to the assembly.
The PAC said that delays in the project have led to continued payment of rent and other associated costs that would have been avoided.
Currently, the EAC operates from the Arusha International Conference Centre which it rents. According to Christopher Nakuleu the PAC chairperson, the delays would have been avoided had the project planners taken care to design the project appropriately by taking into account the then likely admission of the two new partner States.
Rwanda and Burundi were admitted to the regional bloc last year joining founder members Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The report from the secretariat indicates that the project will take off as planned and will be practically completed by September 2010.
The committee recommended to the Assembly that the secretariat submits all the relevant project documents including the cost implications arising from the delay and a revised implementation plan to the Assembly by February, 2009.
The secretariat maintains that with the admission of Rwanda and Burundi, amendments were done to the project including the preliminary designs and the actual spatial, functional requirements and new cost estimates that increased by 46 percent.
The final agreement in respect of the approved additional funding was signed in Bonn on 3 November this year between the EAC Secretariat and the Federal Republic of Germany.