The East African Legislative Assembly has considered and approved supplementary budget estimates for the Financial Year ending June 2019, totaling $12,162,587. Subsequently, the House also passed the EAC Appropriation Bill 2019 to anchor the said budget and to avail the funds for additional expenditure of the Organs and Institutions of the Community.
The Deputy Minister of the EAC in the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon Dr Damas Ndumbaro acting on behalf of the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, presented the Budget Speech to an attentive House.
The supplementary appropriation for the current financial year pegs USD 5,998,394 for the EAC Secretariat while the EALA shall benefit from an additional USD 1,833,560 in to its kitty. The East African Court of Justice will receive USD 499,090, while USD 2,125,749 is earmarked for the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.
On their part, the East African Science and Technology Commission will receive USD 137,600 with another USD 161,784 is reserved for the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC). The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization is to receive USD 345,083 and the Inter-University Council of East Africa, USD 549,600 while the East African Competition Authority, will tap USD 97,450.
The Council of Ministers through Hon Dr Damas Ndumbaro, earlier moved an amendment to the vote on the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization reducing the original estimates downwards to the tune of USD 517,011. He remarked that at the meeting on May 5th, 2018, the Council of Ministers had directed the LVFO to prepare for an action plan for the said amount, a directive of which was not complied with and therefore, unsupported for this particular period.
He affirmed the said amount would be provided for during the next financial year. The amount in question is in regard to obligation payable to the LVFO by the Republic of Burundi according to the Chair of the General-Purpose Committee, Hon Abdikadir Aden.
The supplementary budget is to support a number of areas of the regional integration agenda. At the Secretariat, some of the activities earmarked include provision of legal support to EAC policy meetings of organs and institutions, media engagements, capacity building and enhancing the financial sector development and regionalization as well as that of the risk management framework. Also included are activities of the defense liaison officers and the directorate of Customs.
EALA on its part is expected to promote functional relations between itself and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, facilitate the hosting of the Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar and enhance outreach and sensitization activities. The EACJ’s activities include launching of a sub-registry in the Republic of South Sudan and the attendant sensitization of the judiciary and legal fraternity. At the LVBC, resource mobilization and creating awareness on the oil spill contingency plan are some of the highlights to be supported by the supplementary budget.
The 2018/2019 Budget is themed: “Enhancing Prosperity and Welfare of EAC Citizens”. At its sitting held on 8th June 2018, in Nairobi, Kenya, the Assembly passed a total budget of USD 99,770,716 for the East African Community for the FY 2018/2019. During the consideration and approval of the Budget, most Organs and Institutions of the EAC remained with a number of unfunded priorities due to the budgetary constraints. Over the course of the financial year, the unfunded priorities continued to affect the effective functioning of these Organs and Institutions.
Chairman of the General-Purpose Committee, Hon Abdikadir Aden, presented the report of the Committee detailing the breakdown of the supplementary budget before the House. Hon Aden urged the Council of Ministers to ensure comprehensive information and details of all expenditure lines are provided to guide the Assembly in further scrutiny and subsequent appropriation. Rising in support of the debate was Hon Rose Akol, Hon Pamela Masaay, Hon Kasamba Mathias, Hon Wanjiku Muhia, Hon Aden Noor and Hon Pierre Celestin Rwigema supported the Report.
Speaking on behalf of the Council of Ministers, Hon Dr Damas Ndumbaro said the issue of recruitment was a process involving various steps. He remarked that the activities to be funded by the development partners were in line with the objectives of the Community.
Prior to passage of the Bill, the House had constituted itself in to a Committee of ways and means to consider and approve the Financial Statement for the Financial Year 2018/19. It further constituted in to a Committee of Supply to consider and approve the Estimates of Expenditure for the Financial Year 2018/2019.