Cash-strapped EAC raids reserve fund

Monday September 4 2017

Heads of State from the East African Community

Heads of State from the East African Community during the 17th Ordinary EAC Summit in Arusha, Tanzania. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
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The East African Community Secretariat will have to borrow $3.38 million from its General Reserve Fund to pay salaries and suppliers after member states delayed remitting their share of the budget.

The sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs and planning, in their meeting held from August 21 to 25 in Arusha, directed the Secretariat to present to the Finance and Administration Committee the request for funds for approval.

The money will be refunded immediately the remittances are effected by the partner states.

The Council’s report says that a number of EAC institutions and organs are unable to meet their financial obligations due to the delays in remittance by the partner states.

“Late contributions or no contributions by partner states is a constraint to the smooth operations of the community,” said the ministers.

“The Sectoral Council of Legal and Judicial Affairs should have their input in the proposed sanctions to the partner states who do not remit their contributions or delay to do so.”

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The council also raised concerns that following the deposit of instruments of ratification by South Sudan to join the community, it was supposed to pay $6,715,064 for the 2016/2017 financial year but the amount was not appropriated by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and neither has South Sudan paid.

According to the provisions of the EAC Treaty, the budget of the community is supposed to be contributed equally by all the partner states.

From the 2016/17 budget, five member countries owe $12.93 million of the $41.8 million they were supposed contribute. Donors were to raise $46.7 million.

Only Kenya has paid up. Uganda has arrears of $73,830, Rwanda $540, Tanzania $4,836 while Burundi and South Sudan have paid nothing.

Last year, EALA warned Burundi that it could be sent before the regional court for failure to pay anything towards the EAC budget.

Each of the five member states was required to remit $8.3 million towards the budget last year to support the activities and institutions of the Community.

The total budget for the 2017/2018 total budget is $113.8 million up from $101 million for the financial year 2016/2017.

A total of $1.3 million (3 per cent) has been remitted by two partner states. Uganda has contributed $1.36 million and Kenya, $20,476.

Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan are yet to submit any of their contributions to the budget.

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