The much-awaited entry of the Democratic Republic Congo into the East African Community features among items that will require additional funding yet allocation has not been adequately provided for in the 2021/22 budget.
The East African Legislative Assembly is now worried that the EAC 2021/22 financial year budget tabled in the House is far below what is needed to accomplish the Community's agenda.
The projected Financial Statements for EAC Budget for the Financial Year 2021/2022 were presented on May 25 by Ken Obura, chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers and Kenya's Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of EAC and Regional Development.
"The 40th EAC Ordinary Council ministers considered and adopted the budget estimates amounting to $90,623,945 for the Financial year 2021/2022, to facilitate the activities of the EAC, Organs and institutions," said Mr Obura.
The Ordinary Council of Ministers tabled a $90 million budget, $7 million less than the previous one, drawing criticism.
Denis Namara, chairperson of EALA Committee on General Purpose, termed the figure presented too low and insufficient for the needs of the Community.
Court case backlog
"The Financial Administration Committee which is a sub-committee to the Council has really reduced the budget from $97m to $90m, which is a big challenge to the community," said Namara.
"Remember we are bringing DR Congo and there is a budget for fast-tracking entry. We are creating new institutions and yet we are reducing the budget. It cannot work," said Mr Namara.
"The budget cannot fund the activities budgeted for. Even the budget of the Secretary General is very low. He cannot even work.
"It is the same scenario with the Office of the Speaker and EALA.
The Court too has a backlog of cases and the allocated insufficient," the chairperson of the General Purpose committee in charge of budget approval said.
He suggested the Council consider borrowing over $8 million from the General Reserve, which had a bank balance of $9.5 million as at May 5, 2021.
A budget deficit for 2020/21 saw the Secretariat borrow $270,000 from the general reserve.