The East Africa Community has on Wednesday presented for consideration, budget estimates for the Financial Year 2019/2020, totaling over 100 million US dollar to the East African Legislative Assembly.
The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, United Republic of Tanzania, Hon Dr. Damas Ndumbaro, presented the budget speech on behalf of the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers.
The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon Amb Olivier Nduhungireheis is Rwanda’s Minister for State, EAC in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.
The 2019/2020 Budget is themed: “Transforming lives through Industrialization and Job Creation for shared prosperity.
According to the Chair of the Council of Ministers, the priority interventions for FY 2019/2020, will focus on the consolidation of the Single Customs Territory and promotion of intra and extra EAC trade and export competitiveness.
It also focus on the development of regional infrastructure, effective implementation of the Common Market Protocol and the enhancement of regional industrial development.
Other areas include the implementation of the roadmap towards the EAC Monetary union, institutional transformation focusing on the implementation of the institutional review recommendations and improvement of performance management at the EAC Organs and institutions.
The Chair of Council proposes that 2019/2020 Budget be allocated to the Organs and Institutions of the EAC as follows;
East African Community Secretariat ($53,296,404), East African Legislative Assembly ($18,973,845) and the East African Court of Justice ($4,225,241).
The Inter-University Council for East Africa shall receive ($9,586,426), Lake Victoria Basin Commission ($13,193,849) while $ 4,061,145 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization.
On their part, the East African Science and Technology Commission shall receive ($ 1,915,073), East African Kiswahili Commission ($ 1,474,775) and the East African Health Research Commission ($ 3,996,270).
The East African Competition Authority is to benefit from an amount of $727,501 in the Financial Year 2019/20.
The 2019/2020 Budget is to be financed by Partner State contributions through the Ministries of EAC Affairs ($49,791,446);
Ministries responsible for Education – ($4,379,968) and Ministries responsible for Fisheries ($ 2,060,845).
Development Partners will support the Community to the tune of ($54,031,725) while Member Universities will inject into the kitty $ 468,300. The miscellaneous revenue is pegged at $ 296,145 while the General Reserve shall contribute USD 422,100.
Other key areas the Minister said, include the promotion of peace, security and good governance and the constitution-making process for the EAC Political Confederation, factors that will be necessary for successful implementation of socio-economic programs to further support the growth and development of the EAC region.
The EAC is further expected to streamline and further consolidate on its operational systems to achieve the desired level of efficiency, accountability, and value for money.
The Chair of Council of Ministers cited a number of assumptions on which this year’s budget is pegged on to include the continued and consolidated political support of the EAC integration and the availability of adequate financial resources and remittances.
Political stability and good governance, as well as safe and stable security across the region, are other areas of consideration.
Last Financial Year, the august House approved a Budget of USD111, 933,303.
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.
The Minister cited the performance of the EAC Organs and institutions in the above areas noting general improvements, enhanced partnerships and drive/enthusiasm to address existing and new challenges.
On the global economic performance outlook, the Minister informed the House the global economy had expanded and that the EAC region had maintained its position as the fastest growing economic bloc.
“Mr Speaker, given the accelerated growth within Sub-Saharan Africa attributed to strong agricultural production, rapid public investment, and private consumption in the past two years, the EAC region has maintained its position as the fastest-growing sub-region in Africa, with an estimated growth of 6.3 per cent in 2018, up from a revised growth of 5.6 per cent in 2017”, the Chair of Council of Ministers said.
“Strong growth was widespread in the region, with Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda growing at more than 6 per cent. Economic growth in Burundi and South Sudan remained subdued in 2018, with some strong signs of recovery. GDP growth in Burundi was 0.1 percent in 2018 compared with a contraction of about 1.3 percent in 2017. In South Sudan, the economy contracted by 1.2 per cent in 2018 compared to a contraction of 3.5 per cent in 2017”, Hon Dr Ndumbaro added.
On the legislative front, the Minister informed the House of enactment of three key pieces of legislation namely:
the East African Community Customs Management Act (Amendment) (No.2) Bill of 2018; the East African Community Statistics Bureau Bill, 2017; and the East African Community Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2019.
“The Council has accordingly lined up these pieces of legislation for assent by the Summit”, the Minister remarked.
“Similarly, we are engaged in various studies, which should eventually culminate into pieces of legislation. At an opportune time, therefore, this august House will have the opportunity to consider them or get the Council’s response on some of the proposals coming through as private Members Bills”, Hon Dr Ndumbaro informed the House.
The Chair of Council of Ministers further lauded the Assembly for the speed with which it is carrying out with its mandate.
On Infrastructure, the Minister informed the House of the completion of both the dual construction of the Sakina – Tengeru section, 14 km long, and construction of the 42-km long Arusha by-pass.
He informed the House of the completion of detailed design studies linking the 400-km long Malindi-Lunga Lunga and Tanga-Bagamoyo road between Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania and that discussions between the African Development Bank and the two Governments were in place and at an advanced stage.
Also completed are the feasibility studies and designs linking the Republics of Rwanda and Burundi to the Central Corridor.
On Civil aviation and airport matters, the House has informed the EAC Secretariat had during the year under review, coordinated the implementation of the EAC seamless upper airspace project including the harmonization of regulations, manuals of air navigation services operations and development of common secondary surveillance radar (SSR) codes.
A memorandum of understanding for the establishment, operationalization and management of EAC upper airspace has further been developed to facilitate the acquisition of interoperable air navigation infrastructure and services.
On agriculture and food security, the EAC Minister said the region remained committed to fully support the implementation of the June 2014, African Heads of State Malabo Declaration on Agriculture Growth and Transformation in Africa.
“The Community continues to prioritize implementation of the Malabo Declaration made by Heads of States in June 2014 on Agricultural Growth and Transformation in Africa and being implemented under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Compact framework”, the Minister remarked.
The Minister called for heightened measures to ensure food security.
“Mr Speaker, in the financial year 2019/20, the Community will focus on key agricultural sector priorities including supporting coordination and implementation of EAC CAADP Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP) and EAC Regional Food and Nutrition Security Action Plan (FNSAP), strengthening regional coordination and EAC Partner States capacities for domestication.
The minister also affirmed the Community’s desire to strengthen the regional Food Balance Sheet to establish Regional Food Market Intelligence Hub under which detailed crop harvesting calendar, a move considered important for mitigating potential significant shortfalls in food production and distribution at certain times of the year.
On health matters, Hon Dr. Ndumbaro said the Secretariat continued to implement major disease prevention and control initiatives in the region with financial and technical support from the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW) and GIZ.
The Secretariat, he said, was in process of acquiring nine mobile laboratory units and 18 vehicles to bolster Partner States capacity to detect and respond to the most dangerous disease-causing agents such as Ebola.
Under the same project, 12 laboratories experts’ trainers of trainees (TOTs) two from each Partner State, were trained on the use of specialized laboratory techniques and use of advanced laboratory equipment.
Hon Dr. Ndumbaro remarked the EAC on June 11-14th, 2019 undertook one of the biggest and most complex health sectors led field simulation exercises in Africa at the Namanga border point.
The Field simulation exercises enhanced Partner States’ capacity in pandemic preparedness and response.
In addition, the Council of Ministers approved the EAC State of Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health and HIV&AIDS Report 2018, the 2018 EAC Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) and HIV&AIDS Scorecard, as well as the EAC Regional Policy of Prevention Management and Control of Alcohol Drugs and other Substance use, 2019.
On the environment and natural resources, the august House was informed of the development of an action plan on the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and a corresponding training manual that inter alia; maps out disasters evacuation centres in the Partner States; and strengthens/ harmonizes existing regional early warning systems.
At the same time, the budget speech noted the progress made with respect to the framework for conservation and management of transboundary ecosystem(s)in the region.
The House is expected to debate on the Budget proposals from Thursday.
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