17 December 2012

East Africa: Regional Body Passes Crucial Bills

EALA has passed two key Bills as it concluded its Sittings in Arusha.

The EALA Supplementary Appropriation (No 2) Bill, 2012 for the Financial year 2012/13 amounting to USD $ 2,370,164 sailed through following debate on the floor of the House.

Earlier on, the Chair of the Council of Ministers and Minister for State, East African Community, Republic of Uganda, Hon Shem Bageine had presented the Supplementary Budget to the House.

The Budget covers seven major items. The items are ICT Equipment (USD 626,797), purchase of kitchen equipment (USD 245,641), tarmacking of the parking area of the EAC Headquarters (USD 229,344) and Security Equipment (USD 582,502).

The items according to Hon Bageine shall bring the Headquarters into usable status. The Minister stated that the items were originally to be covered under the KfW financing agreement.

However, due to budget deficit, they had to be omitted and funds budgeted for transferred to construction works.

Other areas include rent for two quarters (USD 284,000), Election Observation Mission which is earmarked to utilise USD 235,300 and USD 166,580 to cater for the first edition of the EAC Art and Cultural Festival and the Sports edition.

The other Bill that passed was the East African Community Customs Management (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2012. The Bill was moved by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Hon Shem Bageine.

Hon Bageine stated that the Bill was expected to fill the gap left by the Customs Management Act 2004 whose life expires on December 31, 2012 rendering no statutory basis for supporting preferential tariff treatment with COMESA and the SADC region.

The Bill's principal object is thus to amend the Customs Management Act, 2004 bringing to fore the extension of the application of preferential tariff treatment from 1st January, 2013 to 31st December 2013 pending completion of the negotiations of the tripartite Free Trade Area.

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