The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat has come out to dismiss media reports that a number of its staff members have abandoned office due to delayed payment of their salaries and allowances.
The East African reported last week that some staff members at the Secretariat had deserted their workstations due to a liquidity crisis at the Secretariat in Arusha.
The paper claimed that even some workers from foreign countries had elected to go back home amid the biting crunch, while a number of programs had also been dropped by the secretariat.
This, the paper said was a result of delayed remittances from the EAC member states.
Officials at the secretariat however, described the reports as false and full of “glaring errors.”
Eng. Steven Mlote, the EAC Deputy Secretary General says none of its staff members have left office due to delayed payement.
As a matter of fact, he says, staff salaries for all EAC Organs and Institutions for the month of July 2019 have been fully paid.
The few workers that were reported out office, Mlote says were either on official leave, or performing other duties outside Arusha as some of them are required to undertake official missions within the Partner States.
“Staff who are out of station are either on annual leave or on official duties in the Partner States,” Mlote clarified.
“Out of the 400 members of staff at the three EAC Organs based in Arusha, 14 are on annual leave, one is on maternity leave, while 11 are on official missions in the Partner States.”
“It is therefore not true that some members of staff have moved back to their home countries due to non-payment of salaries. Contrary to the claims by The East African, the entire Community is operating normally with all staff of Organs and Institutions on duty.”
On claims by the paper that the secretariat was out of cash due to delayed remittances from member states, Mlote said this is a normal occurrence especially at the start of the financial year.
“We wish to clarify that the EAC normally starts receiving disbursements from the Partner States from the month of August each financial year.
“This is occasioned by the budgeting processes such as debates in the National Assemblies and approvals for disbursements in the Partner States which in some cases takes up to three months after the commencement of the Financial Year,” he said.
“At the start of every Financial Year, the Community usually experiences liquidity challenges as it awaits the finalization of the budget approval processes by the Partner States which dictates the disbursement of funds to the EAC through the Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs.”
“Partner States are expected to make their respective disbursements after the finalization of their national budget approval processes. Further to this, the EAC Financial Rules and Regulations require that Partner States should have disbursed the total financial year contribution by the end of the 2nd Quarter of the Financial Year (31st December every year).”
The Secretariat Mlote says, is currently working normally, implementing its programs and hitting several of its set targets.
“It is because of these many achievements that the EAC has been rated as the best performing regional economic bloc in Africa by the African Development Bank (2018) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (2017),” he said.