The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed the East African Community (EAC) budget bill that provides for a legal framework to streamline and enhance the budgetary process of the community.
In addition, the bill makes provision for medium term expenditure framework, consideration of policy issues that affect the Community budget in each financial year to enable normal operations of the Community in the first quarter of the new financial year and before approval of the budget.
The bill was passed on Wednesday during the fourth sitting of the third meeting of the second Assembly presided over by EALA Speaker Abdiraheen Haithar Abdi.
“It is important to have this bill, it will address most of the challenges the Secretariat has been facing concerning the implementation of the planned activities,” Monique Mukaruliza, the chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers told The New Times.
She added: “This will also prevent paralysis of the activities of the community because the Assembly can now approve a budget for a short period if it is not ready to approve the whole budget.”
Mukaruliza who is also Rwanda’s Minister of East African Affairs became the chairperson of the council of ministers following President Paul Kagame’s taking over the chairmanship of the EAC Summit mid this year.
She also underscored that the budget bill provides a timeframe for budgetary process which she said, will enable the community plan better and the Secretary General to make consultations before the budget is approved on what should be included and how much should be allocated for each activity in the budget.
According to Bill, the Secretary General will prepare and submit to the Assembly a draft community budget not later than October 15 each financial year.
Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers and the Assembly will have to consider the budget not later than April 30 and in preparation for the final budget draft estimates of the Community for the next financial year.
“Before, there was no systematic way of preparing and presenting the budget, but now this Bill will streamline the whole process. This will also help the EAC Secretariat to do its work in a more organized manner and be more efficient in carrying out its mandate,” Mukaruliza added.
The Bill also provides supplementary expenditure over and above what is appropriated by the Assembly though it must not exceed 5 percent of the total approved budget for that financial year without prior approval of the Assembly.