The Ministry of Internal Security, yesterday, hosted the first Regional Centre for Small Arms (RECSA) Ministerial Standing Committee (MSC) meeting to tackle financial woes affecting the orgnaisation.
MSC was created during RECSA’s Council of Ministers meeting held in Djibouti last year to encourage member countries to submit their pledges. It is composed of the current chair, the deputy and the previous overseer.
According to the Executive Secretary of RECSA, Dr. Francis Sang, member states have failed to hand in their contributions which has affected RECSA’s operations.
“We are now unable to cater for our operation costs such as paying salaries of our permanent employees and other administrative costs,” Dr. Sang told the ministerial committee.
RECSA’s reports point out that member countries have arrears that go back to the institution’s establishment in 2006. It indicates that the outstanding arrears total up to US$ 3,892,042.
MSC’s current chair, Musa Fazil Harelimana, noted that it had been agreed that all arrears be written off and member countries pay their contributions starting from 2011.
“The arrears were supposed to serve RECSA’s operations during that time, so we decided that by writing off the outstanding balance, we would be encouraging member countries to pay their contributions,” Harelimana explained.
To encourage member states to honour their pledges, Harelimana and his deputy, Tanzanian Minister of Home Affairs, Shamsi Nahodha, in the company of RECSA’s officials, will visit all member countries to highlight the current situation and convince member states on the importance of honouring their pledges.
Each member country is required to pay US$ 70,000 to help run the RECSA’s operations.
“Through RECSA’s action plan, member states’ contributions are used to fund several projects such as arms marking, destruction of old arms, customized software for small arms and light weapons record keeping, among others,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sam Karemera, the Coordinator of Small Arms and Light Weapons at the Ministry of Internal Security, said.
In its recovery action plan, RECSA urges MSC to recommend to RECSA Council of Ministers to organise a summit of Heads of States to raise the organization’s profile and thereby overcome the current financial crunch.
It also proposes integrating RECSA as part of the structure of African Union Commission. The resolution is to be presented at the Council of Ministers at the next session.
RECSA is composed of 15 member states and is currently reaching out to West African countries to join the fight against illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons.