Assembly raises concerns over EAC funding crisis

Tuesday March 7 2017

EALA in session. PHOTO | FILE

A past EALA in session in Kigali, Rwanda. PHOTO | FILE 

By Robert Mbaraga

The East African Community is facing a cash crunch with a number of its institutions and organs unable to meet their financial obligations, the bloc’s legislative arm said Monday.

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA’s) Speaker Daniel Kidega pleaded with President Paul Kagame to lobby the member states to make their budgetary contributions.

The Assembly is holding its two-week sittings in Kigali, Rwanda where President Kagame opened its first session.

“I appeal to you, your Excellency, in your leadership philosophy of efficiency, to talk with your good brothers in the [EAC] Summit, to make sure partner states remit their contribution to Arusha, to enable the Secretary General do his work,” Mr Kidega requested the Rwandan leader.

According to Mr Kidega, all EAC organs are facing “unprecedented financial challenges that hampers our hard effort to realise the integration agenda”.

“These men and women you see before you, they have been working in committees without sitting allowances,” Mr Kidega stressed.

While President Kagame did not directly address the failure by partner states to make their contributions on time, he called on all member states to support the Community.

“Let’s empower our institutions to do what they are supposed to do in support of our collective prosperity,” he said.

“Integration is not a zero-sum game. When we work together, we are all better off. When we work against each other, everyone is worse off” the president added.

Of the 2016/17 budget, the five member countries still owe $28.3 million of $41.8 million they are supposed contribute. Donors were to raise $46.7 million.

Uganda is so far leading in remitting its payment to the EAC Secretariat having paid 89 per cent ($7.4 million) of the amount due.

Kenya has paid $4.3 million (52 per cent) while Rwanda and Tanzania have only remitted 36 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. Burundi has paid very little.

Each of the five member states is required to remit $8.3 million to support the activities and institutions of the Community.