EAC partner states face suit over defaults

Saturday September 21 2019

EAC member states flags.

EAC member states flags. All the EAC partner states owe the community money, but South Sudan is the biggest defaulter. PHOTO | URUGWIRO 

MOSES HAVYARIMANA
By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI
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The East African Civil Society Organisation Forum is considering filing a suit with the East African Court of Justice over sanctions on Partner States who default on their financial obligations.

EACSOF is seeking an interpretation of Article 143 of the Treaty which addresses the issue.

In a letter, dated September 19, to Martin Karoli Ngoga, speaker of East African Legislative Assembly, the forum questioned whether the failure by partner states to remit contributions shows a lack of commitment and leadership to the community.

The letter is also copied to Secretary-General EAC Liberat Mfumukeko, chairman Council of Ministers Richard Sezibera and chairman, general purpose committee at EALA Abdikadir Aden Omar.

“EACSOF has been perplexed by the failure of Partner States to meet their financial obligations to the EAC, and thus effectively breaching the Finance and Appropriation Acts of the Community consistently,” said EACSOF acting chief executive and programme co-ordinator Martha Makenge.

The forum carried out a survey on EAC Budget and remittances from the partner states and found that in the 2018/2019 budget, Tanzania contributed 89 per cent of its obligation; Kenya contributed 98 per cent.

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However, both countries have not made any payments in the first quarter of 2019/2020. At the end of the first quarter, only Rwanda and Uganda had remitted all their contributions for 2019/2020 budget.

South Sudan is the biggest defaulter owing the community more than $27 million, followed by Burundi with $13 million, Tanzania $9 million, Kenya $8 million, Rwanda $7 million and Uganda $2 million.

“EACSOF has also found out that despite the EAC now being in the process of implementing the road map to attain the East African Monetary Union, as well as having additional institutions, which have increased the wage bill, the Council has maintained a 0 per cent budget increase for the past decade,” said Ms Makenge in the letter.

The average aggregate contributions of the EAC’s 2018/2019 budget were a mere 59 per cent.

The forum also asked Dr Sezibera what action the Council plans to take against partner states like South Sudan—the biggest defaulter—and member states that have arrears.

“How can the EAC charged with fostering regional integration lack funds to pay salaries to personnel in service of the Community? Were these statutory obligations of the Community not provided for in the budget? If they were, why are the obligatory payments not honoured?” reads the letter.

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