BY SAMUEL NABWIISO
ARUSHA, TANZANIA- The East African Community member states have presented for consideration budget estimates for the Financial Year 2018/2019, totaling to $99,770,716 to the East African Legislative Assembly .
The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, and Second Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda, Rt Hon Dr Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, presented the Budget Speech to an attentive House.
The 2018/2019 Budget themed: “Enhancing Prosperity and Welfare of EAC Citizens” is a step-down from $110,130,184 presented to the House in the previous Financial Year.
According to the Chair of Council of Ministers, the Priority Interventions for FY 2018/2019 will focus on enhanced free movement of goods in the region and further liberalization of free movement of labor and Services; improved cross-border infrastructure to ease cost of doing business in the region; and enhanced regional agricultural productivity.
Other priority interventions include enhanced industrial development through investment in key priority sectors including leather and textile; skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development.
The implementation of the roadmap for the attainment of the EAC Monetary Union; strengthened Peace, Security and Good Governance and Institutional Framework for EAC Political Confederation are also set for consideration.
The Budgets for the EAC is allocated to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC as follows and in this financial year 2018/2019 the Budget allocation for the community is as follows ,the East African Community Secretariat will receive ($46,693,056), East African Legislative Assembly ($17,885,852) and the East African Court of Justice ($3,982,446).
Other Agencies like The Inter-University Council for East Africa shall receive ($6,847,969), Lake Victoria Basin Commission ($13,357,673) while $ 2, 518,137 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization.
On their part, the East African Science and Technology Commission shall receive ($ 1,661,779), East African Kiswahili Commission ($ 1,605,353) and the East African Health Research Commission ($ 4,204,032). The East African Competition Authority is to benefit from $1,014,418 in the Financial Year 2018/19.
According to the statement from the EAC Headquarters the 2018/2019, the budget is to be financed by Partner States contributions through the Ministries of EAC Affairs ($50,227,920); Ministries responsible for Education – ($ 4,466,210) and Ministries responsible for Fisheries ($ 1,551,032).
Apart from the Member States, Development Partners will support the Community to the tune of ($42,925,613) while Member Universities will inject in to the kitty $ 333,970. The miscellaneous revenue is pegged at $ 265,971.
In the financial year 2018/2019 according to Kivenjija, the community will focus more on consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to enhance intra-EAC trade, leading to reduction in the cost of doing business in the region and the development of regional infrastructure, thereby reducing transport costs, and easing cross-border movement of people, goods and services.
The funds are also earmarked to enhance implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol, with particular emphasis on free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States.
Promotion of peace, democracy and security across the Partner States as well as efforts towards full participation of the Republic of South Sudan in the activities of EAC are other areas of priority for the Community in the coming Financial Year.
The EAC is further expected to streamline and further consolidate its operational systems to achieve the desired level of efficiency, accountability, and value for money.
Last Financial Year, the August House approved a Budget of $110, 130,184. The said amount was earmarked for among others; consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods; Infrastructural development in the region and liberalization of free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States.