5 June 2018

East Africa: EAC Cuts Budget By $10m, Cites Poor Performance of Burundi, South Sudan

Photo: Enough Project
U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker, along with John Prendergast, Enough’s Founding Director and Co-Founder of The Sentry, participated in an NGO roundtable in Nairobi on June 13, 2018.

The East African Community on Monday presented its 2018/19 budget to the East African Legislative Assembly sitting in Nairobi, with a $10 million slash attributed to reviewed expenditure targets due to poor remittances by some partner states.

The chairman of the Council of Ministers Kirunda Kivejinja, who presented the estimates, cited Burundi and South Sudan as the main defaulters.

According to the EAC Secretariat, the two states are yet to send in their contributions for the current year.

Each partner state is expected to contribute at least $8.3 million per financial year and the remittances are expected December 31.

The 2018/19 budget was revised to $99.7 million, from $110 million in 2017/18, and Dr Kivejinja said the Secretariat was being realistic in its expectations following defaults by the member states.

The EAC predicts growth in the region at an average of 5 per cent, supported by sustained investment in infrastructure and improvement in the service sectors.

But the economies of Burundi and South Sudan will remain subdued. Burundi's GDP growth contracted by 1.3 per cent in 2017 while Juba's contracted by 3.5 per cent.

Integration pillars

Dr Kivejinja called on the Secretariat to spend the money on the main integration pillars, noting that most of the money was being spent on "meetings and air tickets and not geared to the activities to strengthen integration."

Th ekey priority areas in the 2018/19 budget are corporate support services ($32,026,571) and institutional transformation ($23,496,557).

Other key priorities are the implementation of the roadmap for the attainment of the EAC Monetary Union, improved cross-border infrastructure to ease doing business in the region, enhanced free movement of goods and further liberalisation of labour and services.

Others are agricultural productivity, industrial development through investment in key priority sectors including leather and textiles, skills development, technology and innovation to stimulate economic development.

The Eala General Purpose Committee will scrutinise the budget before it is adopted by the assembly.

The assembly is expected to approve a supplement budget of $4.9 million to finance some activities that were initially funded by development partners.

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