EAC seeks supplementary budget

ARUSHA,Tanzania – The EAC recently presented a Supplementary Budget Speech to the House seeking the go-ahead to expend an additional USD 2,143,960 for the Financial Year 2013/14 to meet its programmes. 

At the same time, the Assembly debated and adopted the Report of the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges on the Assessment of Adherence to Good Governance in the EAC and the Status of the EAC Political Federation.

 Presenting the Supplementary Budget Speech to the House on behalf of the Chair of Council of Ministers, the Minister of State for EAC Affairs in Uganda, Hon Shem Bageine, remarked that the supplementary budget would prioritise on three main areas.

 Out of the specified amount, USD 1,142,763 sourced from USAID, shall be incurred on activities related to Agriculture, Trade and Customs. USD 494, 700 shall be allocated towards the EAC-World Bank Public Financial Management Harmonisation Project while a corresponding USD 506, 497 is expected to be expended to strengthen the East and Southern Africa-India Ocean (ESA-IO) Maritime Security Project. 

 Under the USAID Project, the Minister remarked that a total of USD 133,700 would be utilized for implementing the EAC Food Security and Nutrition Policy and developing Regional Animal Resources database at the Secretariat.

 A second amount of USD 341,150 shall be allocated to a raft of trade activities including facilitating the study of the EAC Common Trade Policy and Strategy, development of the AGOA Framework in all the Partner States and in the preparation of strategies promoting exports to the European and emerging markets.

 The development of a mechanism for the operationalisation of a Single Customs Territory and the institutionalization of the Revenue Authorities Digital Data Exchange are some of the priorities to be funded under the Customs component of the grant. The stipulated amount is USD 406,325. 

 The Minister maintained that there was need to ensure harmonization of the procurement, accounting and oversight functions of the EAC as the process to embrace the Monetary Union Protocol commences. The Secretariat is thus expected to support the Partner States in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, compliance with the best practices of the Institute of Internal Auditors and in the approximation of legal and institutional requirements, procurement processes and the capacity development requirements.

 The Chair of the Council informed the House that a specified amount of USD 506,497 would be used to strengthen the capacity of the East and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (ESA-1O) Maritime Security project.   On its part, the Assessment Report on Good Governance and the status of the Political Federation notes that the EAC has drafted a Good Governance Protocol that incorporates a number of pillars including human rights, transparency, accountability and democracy among others. “The Wako Report recommended for an overlapping achievement of integration stages and the fast tracking of Political Federation”, a section of the Report reads.

 The Report tabled by the Chair of the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges, Hon Dora Byamukama, terms the purpose of Political Federation as the desire to unite the Partner States into a Federal State with a unified and coordinated political authority. The proposed Federation will be governed by a Federal Constitution that will be negotiated and subjected to a referendum by the Peoples of the Partner States, the Report denotes.