EAC Secretariat resorts to austerity in cash crunch

Tuesday November 21 2017

The East African Community Secretary-General

The East African Community Secretary-General Liberat Mfumukeko. He had received only 4.6 per cent of the 2017/18 budget contributions from partner states by the end of September. PHOTO | FILE 

By PATTY MAGUBIRA
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All the main organs and institutions of the East African Community are in distress due to the financial constraints facing the bloc.

The Secretariat had received only 4.6 per cent of the 2017/18 budget contributions from partner states by the end of September, leaving it and its institutions in critical liquidity pressure.

The EAC budget for 2017/18 stood at $113.8 million, an increase of 12 per cent of the $101.4 million the previous fiscal year. Each EAC partner state is required to contribute $8.4 million to this financial year’s Budget.

“Many activities have been stalled, pending remittance of the remaining partner states’ contributions,” a source told The EastAfrican.

Head of the EAC Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department Othieno Owora promised to issue a statement on the matter soon.

The EAC’s main organs are the Summit, the Council of Ministers, the co-ordinating committees, the sectoral councils, the East African Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat.

In a September 27 internal memo, EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko directed the organs and institutions of the EAC to suspend all activities unless the finance directorate confirms availability of funds.

“For the meetings that have to be undertaken, the delegation must be reduced to a bare minimum and only staff performing critical roles should be allowed to travel. Nominations for meetings to be approved by line Deputy Secretary General Finance and Administration,” the internal memo reads.

Critical activities

Mr Mfumukeko says all directorates should identify critical activities and that all other activities should be put on hold until funds are available.

“Activities that can be conducted without any financial implication should be prioritised,” he stresses in the memo seen by The East African.

Development studies scholar Dr Gasper Mpehongwa, says it is time leaders looked for alternative financing mechanisms, if the EAC integration project is to be realised.

“It’s a shame for leaders who preach EAC integration in public, but privately default on their states’ financial obligations,” Dr Mpehongwa said.