Regional Body Faces Budgetary Challenges

Failure by several member states of the East African Community (EAC) to pay up their annual contributions has curtailed operations at the regional body’s headquarters.

Besides Kenya which has almost cleared its dues, some member states have not paid their contributions in the 2018/2019 financial year affecting the running of the EAC Secretariat.

The National Assembly Select Committee on Regional Integration led by Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda on Wednesday expressed concern over the non-remittance of contributions by majority of the member states.

Addressing a press conference at English Point Marina in Mombasa, the MPs urged the member states to honour their financial commitments.

A report issued by the MPs indicated that the six member states have total outstanding balances of US$31,493,482 (Sh3, 243,828,646) or 59 percent to pay to the Secretariat to ensure its smooth running.

The report showed that Kenya was leading in honouring its financial obligations to EAC as it had an outstanding balance of only US$167,425 (S7, 244,775) after settling 98 percent of its bill in the 2018/2019 financial year.

Tanzania comes second clearing 89 percent of its 2018/2019 bill leaving an outstanding balance of US$957,831 (ShSh98, 656,593).

South Sudan which is the newcomer to the EAC was grappling with US$ 10,956,568 (S, 128,526,504) in arrears and outstanding balance of US$ 19,327,888(S, 990,772,464).

Burundi which is also troubled by internal conflict is struggling to offset an outstanding balance of US$7,962,772 (Sh820, 165,516) after managing to pay a paltry five percent for the 2018/2019 financial year.

Uganda is also struggling to clear US$42,873 (Sh4, 415,919) in arrears and outstanding balance of US$ 2,398,459 (Sh247, 041,277) while Rwanda is expected to pay outstanding balance of US$1,048,445 (S07, 989,835).

The team said discussions were ongoing at the EAC council of ministers on enforcement mechanisms on honouring annual budgetary obligations to ensure the smooth running of the community organs and institutions.

Ms Lesuuda also urged the EAC Secretariat to ensure prudent use of resources already remitted by the member states and development partners to enable the economic bloc achieve its objectives and enhance the confidence of financiers.

The committee is aware that some partner states have not remitted any contributions due for the financial year 2018/2019, Lesuuda said.

She was flanked by members of the committee Ms Ruweida Mohamed, Christopher Nakuleu, Kubai Iringo, Elijah Memusi, Janet Teyiaa, Joyce Emanikor, Eve Obara, Ezekiel Ombaki, Janet Ong’era, Mathias Robi, Rozaah Buyu, Malulu Injendi, Nasri Ibrahim and Dr. Gideon Ochanda.

Others were Ali Wario, Erastus Nzioka, Abdi Ibrahim, Ndindi Nyoro, Kassim Tandaza, Gideon Keter and Geoffrey Omuse.

However, the committee expressed its satisfaction with the achievement made in attaining the customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation as pillars of the integration process.

According to the committee, Kenya has ratified international protocols without reservations and demonstrated commitment to EAC.

The committee is aware that there are member states including founder member states that are yet to ratify key protocols consequently slowing down the implementation of the integration agenda of the East Africa Community, added Lesuuda.

Source: Kenya News Agency