20 January 2018

East Africa: Rwanda in Push for EAC Contingency Fund

Photo: EAC
(File photo).

Rwanda is pushing for a contingency fund to be included in the annual remittances that member states of the East African Community make towards the bloc's consolidated fund.

The proposal is informed by the failure of some members to meet their annual obligations, thereby derailing activities of the Secretariat. Kigali also says that the demand for funds to cater for activities that arise outside the EAC budget cycle undermines countries' national budgets.

"The Secretariat should set aside money towards activities that arise outside the budget, which will in effect be directly transferred to the activities' account within the first quarter of the financial year," said Kigali in a recent report of the Sectoral Council of Minister's Meeting on Energy.

Rwanda said the EAC could also mobilise funds from development partners, sponsors as well as participants for such activities as is the case with the business summits, health research conferences. and the biennial infrastructure retreat.

However, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania were of the view that the status quo be maintained, owing to the hurdles to access the conference funds, and the risk that the funds could be diverted to other activities.

Rwanda raised its concerns recently during talks by regional energy ministers on funding the East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition scheduled for March 2019.

Among the critical issues that need to be determined ahead of the EAPCE'19 are inspection and selection of suitable facilities to host the conference, partner states' contribution towards the conference, the exhibition, accommodation of delegates and social events.

The ministers recommended that the EAPCE'19 be held in Kenya from March 6-8, 2019.

The Secretariat has prepared the draft budget of $1,800,777, which will also facilitate pre-conference talks.

The sectoral council on energy approved the EAPCE'19 Conference budget and directed partner states to remit their contribution of $50,000 each to the EAPCE'19 account by October 30.

The EAC has been holding the East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition biennially since 2003.

The main objective of the conference is to promote investment in the region's oil and gas sector by sharing information on the status of its development in each partner state.

The conference provides a forum for discussing the legal and policy framework as well as the overall business environment. It gives stakeholders in the oil and gas sectors an opportunity to interact with EAC senior government officials and decision makers.

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