SATURDAY April 9, 2022
By Patty Magubira
The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
The East African Community (EAC) Budget will stagnate for a second consecutive year following COVID-19 pandemic continuing taking its toll on economies of the partner states.
The 47th EAC Council of Ministers proposed on Wednesday April 6, 2022, that the Budget of the community for 2022/233 would stand at $91.6 million as was the case with the outgoing financial year.
Development partners have pledged to contribute $37.5 million to the proposed budget.
High on the agenda of the 47thEAC Council of Ministers were to consider progress reports on financial and administrative matters of the community and to appoint candidates into various vacant posts within the organs, institutions and projects.
The Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the Finance and Planning Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Tutuba, who doubles as the country’s Paymaster General, was quoted shortly after the ministerial session in Arusha, Tanzania, as saying that the proposed budget had considered taking austerity measures.
“Most of the funds will be directed towards development projects of the bloc,” Mr Tutuba explained.
The EAC Council of Ministers estimates that $54.1 million of the proposed Budget would be allocated for organs and institutions of the community.
The community, which so far boasts seven members of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, comprises three organs, namely the EAC Secretariat, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), as well as seven institutions.
The institutions are the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTCO), East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC), East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC) and the East African Competition Authority (EACA).
If the EAC Budget proposal sails through the outgoing 4th EALA Assembly, the IUCEA and the LVFO will receive over $644,200 and $465,500, respectively.
The budget would, among other things, focus on the construction of second phases of headquarters of the IUCEA and the LVBC, maintenance of the Research vessel dubbed RV Jumuia and deployment of the EAC Election Observation Mission to Kenya whose General Election is slated for August 9, 2022.
The EAC Council of Ministers estimated a total of $91,784,296 Budget for 2021/22 when lockdowns and shutdowns had ravaged economies of the entire region.
Over $63.1 million of the Budget themed Economic Recovery through Industrialisation and Inclusive Growth was allocated for the organs with the EAC Secretariat receiving $43.9 million, EALA $15.5 million and EACJ $3.8 million.
Shares of the EAC institutions were LVBC $8.2 million, EASTCO $1.6 million, EAKC $1.3 million, EAHRC $1.9 million, EACA $1 million, IUCEA $ $11.2 million and LVFO $3.6 million.
The EAC Council of Ministers, which prepares and presents annual budgets to the Budget Committee of the regional assembly, missed the annual budget reading deadline for the outgoing financial year, paralysing many operations of the bloc.
The former Chairman of the Council of Minister, Dr Vincent Biruta, who doubles as the Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister, blamed the failure to meet the June 30 deadline on a plethora of causes, including travel disruptions compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other factors were deaths of Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza as well as South Sudan minister for EAC Affairs John Luk Jok as well as elections held in Tanzania and UgandaΩ