15 June 2018

East Africa: EAC Budgets Prioritise Job Creation

Finance Ministers from East African Community partner states on Thursday unveiled their budgets simultaneously under one similar theme; 'Industrialisation for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity'.

Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya presented their 2018/19 financial year budgets on Thursday.

The other two member countries -South Sudan and Burundi - are yet to align the budget reading to their EAC counterparts.

However, South Sudan's cabinet Wednesday adopted a budget of 81.6 billion South Sudanese pounds (about $62 million) for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The proposed budget is scheduled to be presented to parliament for approval next week.

In Kigali, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning pointed out that generally, economic plans in the 2018-19 budget will focus on job creation through rapid industrialisation to reduce the current rate of unemployment among the youth.

Rwanda's 2018/19 national budget is Rwf2.4 trillion, a 16 percent increase from last year.

The country plans to create 216,717 new jobs, with Rwf46.7 billion set aside just for that.

"The theme of industrialization for job creation and shared prosperity is highly relevant for Rwanda. Throughout history, the industrial sector has been the engine of economic development. Very few countries have developed their economies without developing a robust industrial base," Rodgers Mukwaya, an Economist at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) office in Kigali, told The New Times.

In Kenya, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich tabled a record Ksh3.07 trillion ($30.7 billion) budget for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

This is a significant increase from the previous year which was Ksh2.6 trillion ($26 billion) in the current fiscal year.

Rotich also put emphasis on the government's 'Big Four' agenda - manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security - as the government intends to use them to create jobs.

"We must create jobs for our youths, reduce poverty and share prosperity. The budget we present today is an opportunity to walk the talk. The theme is creating jobs, transforming lives. We will be relying on public and private partnership to deliver the components of the Big four Agenda," Rotich said.

Tanzania's Finance minister Dr Philip Mpango presented a 2018/19 budget of $14.3 billion (Tsh32.48 trillion).

The EAC region's biggest country plans to raise its spending by 2.4 percent in the new fiscal year, with most spending going into infrastructure, education and water projects.

In Uganda, a Ugsh32.7trillion ($8.45b) budget also puts emphasis on industrialization for job creation and shared prosperity.

Their Financial Year 2018/19 Budget has been formulated based on the socio-economic achievements made in the recent past, said Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija.



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